Date Published: 11 March 2020
A pub owner must pay more than £1,300 after food hygiene inspectors counted eight instances of unsafe food at his premises in one routine visit – including a beef steak nearly three weeks past its use by date.
John Clark, operator of The Queen’s Head Inn and Restaurant in Kirkby la Thorpe, pleaded guilty at Boston Magistrates’ court on Monday 2nd March to eight separate food hygiene offences identified by North Kesteven District Council Environmental Health Officers.
During a routine inspection of The Queen’s Head on 12th December 2019, the officers discovered a number of food items available for sale which were unsafe for consumption.
These included a total of 24 beef steaks, one with a use by date of 24th November 2019 and the rest with dates ranging from 1st December to 5th December, which had been refrigerated but not previously frozen.
Also found was a rolled beef joint dated 7th December, a pack of gravlax dated 9th December and a carton of cream dated 29th November.
Mr Clark entered an early guilty plea at the hearing, and was fined £333, a victim surcharge of £33 and also told to contribute £1,000 towards costs. In mitigation, the court heard he had experienced some difficult personal circumstances but that he would throw himself more fully into the business and seek to have the hygiene rating reassessed.
Public Protection Manager at North Kesteven District Council with responsibility for food hygiene Mark Stuart said: “While we work closely with all businesses in our District to ensure they comply with food hygiene legislation, occasionally it is necessary for us to take enforcement action to protect public health. Unfortunately, this was one such case.”
All food businesses in the District are given a food hygiene rating by the Council’s Environmental Health Officers.
While the Queen’s Head has historically been marked at the highest five star hygiene rating, it dropped in July 2019 to one. At the time inspectors found the cleanliness and condition of the facilities were very good and hygienic food handling was generally satisfactory, but management of food safety needed major improvement.
Executive Board Member at North Kesteven District Council with responsibility for food hygiene Councillor Mervyn Head said: “We want people to have confidence in the quality of food premises across our District, and while 98.1% of them have a hygiene rating of three or above there is a small percentage of business owners who are failing to meet the desired standards.
“This prosecution demonstrates our commitment to protecting consumers when those standards have failed.”
The Council has offered its advice and assistance to help the business raise its food standards once more.
To find out the food hygiene rating of a business in the District, residents can visit: https://ratings.food.gov.uk/