12:03PM, Thursday 25 February 2021
Marinating meat at Damascene
A restaurant and takeaway in Slough town centre has been fined £4,000 after a customer reported falling ill from eating their food.
Slough Borough Council launched an investigation into Damascene’s food hygiene practices in 2019 after a resident became unwell and suspected it was due to a meal served by the venue.
Food and safety inspectors visited the High Street shop, which specialises in Syrian food, on August 15 that year to carry out a spot-check.
The team found high risk food was kept at the wrong temperatures allowing dangerous bacteria to grow and spotted there was inadequate cleaning of preparation equipment.
Inspectors also found bulk quantities of cooked rice were not cooled down correctly and were not kept at the right temperature.
There was also evidence of cross-contamination between raw and cooked food.
An unclean roll cage used to store raw kebab meat
Samples of food from the restaurant were sent to Public Health England which stated they were indicative of some major food safety failings and presented a significant public health risk.
The restaurant was given zero out of five stars in a visit on 15 August 2019, due to the poor findings which were also found on a repeat visit a month later.
The council served two Hygiene Improvement Notices on the venue in September 2019.
Derar Belel, who owns Damas Rose Limited, which trades as Damascene, appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Friday, February 12.
He admitted a total of 17 food hygiene breaches from August 15 to September 17, 2019.
The court heard Belel had commissioned a food consultant to advise the business and employees on best practice, which was observed during a follow-up inspection in November 2019.
Belel told the court mistakes had been made and said the restaurant has worked hard to improve its food hygiene rating which is now four out of five stars.
All food handlers have now been trained in safe methods, he added.
Belel said the venue has lost 60 per cent of its business due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Magistrates fined Damas Rose Ltd £4,000 and ordered it to pay £5,000 towards the council’s costs.
Belel was fined £175 and ordered to pay £32 costs.
Rice stored at Damascene
Cllr Pavitar K. Mann, cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “Residents need to be confident the food they purchase from the borough’s food premises is safe.
“On this occasion unsafe food was found for sale and standards were not satisfactory at the business.
“The food and safety team are there to offer advice and help for businesses who want to check they are carrying out safe and correct procedures. Business owners have a legal and moral responsibility to comply with the law.
“We would encourage all businesses to follow the advice and recommendations they are given by the food and safety team. This will help them be the best they can and prevent customers becoming ill and any subsequent legal proceedings.
“We hope other food establishments are aware of the consequences for not complying with food hygiene standards.”
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