An “out of his depth” businessman has been fined after council inspectors found a rat infestation at his dirty Indian takeaway.
The takeaway Shahenshah, run by Oakes man Faisal Yusuf, was being run with staff preparing food in filthy conditions where rats had easy access and had likely defecated and urinated.
Yusuf pleaded guilty to 11 charges related to food hygiene breaches at the Birstall-based takeaway.
Kirklees magistrates criticised the 30-year-old, with Chairwoman Catherine Beney telling him: “You’re completely out of your depth in running this business and what’s required in preparing and selling food to the public.
“You have had total disregard for the law and were wilfully blind to the risk you were putting your customers at.”
The court heard that an inspection of the Low Lane takeaway by environmental health officials last August resulted in its immediate closure due to a rat infestation.
It reopened after Yusuf, of Equilibrium in Oakes, made improvements but further inspections uncovered major problems.
David Stickley, prosecuting on behalf of Kirklees Council, said: “The floor and ceilings were visibly dirty throughout the food preparation and storage areas.
“There was food debris, rat droppings and grease on the floor, behind and underneath the cooking equipment.”
The poor structure of the building and holes in the floor provided ideal access for the rats. The flooring was unfinished and its non-absorbant surface meant that it could not be properly cleaned or disinfected.
Food preparation equipment, such as chopping boards, were visibly dirty and staff were not wearing protective clothing such as aprons.
Mr Stickley said: “Rat droppings were located throughout, particularly in very close proximity to a dough mixer, and it’s likely that they have urinated or defecated on and around food storage areas."
He added: “There was a failure to protect against contamination where the food was being prepared and this was injurious to public health.”
Yusuf was served with a hygiene improvement notice but when council inspectors visited again in September they still found problems. These included raw beef burgers being stored next to ready to eat food, dirty fridges and poor cleaning.
Yusuf, who has run the business since 2009, promised to make major improvements.
The mortgage adviser said he ran it in the evenings and had been let down by problems with the staff.
He said: “We’ve made improvements and I’m going to be there every day now. My aim is to get a good star rating.”
Magistrates fined him £923 and ordered him to pay £500 court costs and £93 victim surcharge.