Supermarket shut down for poor hygiene

By Chloe Johnson

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A supermarket was forced to close its doors after a health inspector found it crawling with cockroaches and covered in rodent poo.

New Lynn's Food For Less owner Romit Prakash was convicted and fined $1000 in Waitakere District Court for breaches of food safety bylaws and food hygiene regulations.

It was one of 22 food outlets the Auckland City Council temporarily shut down since February last year for serious breaches of food safety.

Council acting licensing manager Rosemary Hagg said inspectors found a serious cockroach and rodent infestation as well as poor cleaning and hygiene issues after a complaint from a concerned customer.

Court documents and photographs showed cockroaches, both dead and alive, and faeces-littered shelves stacked with food. Inspectors also discovered "putrid" chicken hearts, which created a foul stench in a cool room, as well as animal blood and food scraps in freezers.

The supermarket, which sells Indian food as well as fruit, vegetables, cakes and sandwiches, was immediately closed.

"A re-inspection the next day revealed the premises had been thoroughly cleaned and tidied and had been treated for cockroaches and rodents by a registered pest control operator," Hagg said.

Counsel Radhe Nand said his client had spent thousands of dollars on pest control and blamed the problem on nearby construction.

"My client was faced with an outburst of pests caused by the significant road, railway and drainage works during the revamp and re-construction of the bus depot, new railway station and underground drainage in New Lynn," Nand said.

The supermarket holds a B- grade, which means it had a good level of compliance with regulations.

Other places forced to close included Valen-tine's Restaurant in Mt Eden, Westgate Food Hall, Yummy Wok and Arena Roast Takeaways.

Valentine's manager Matt Bao said the business was penalised for dead cockroaches, messy benches and cross contamination after putting raw meat next to cooked food in the fridge.

"We spent two days cleaning all of the kitchens," Bao said. "We asked the officer to come again and we got an A but we have to wait two or three months to display the grading and re-apply."

However, a low grade was not all about filthy conditions as owner of Brewery Britomart Lawrence van Dan discovered after opening his new restaurant in Customs St last year. He said Brewery Britomart was given a D grading.

"We are all on top of that now," van Dan said. "No one has ever been sick as far as I know."

- Herald on Sunday

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