The owners of an Italian restaurant who failed to clean their premises before reopening after the Covid-19 lockdown have been ordered to pay almost £7,000 in court.
Inspectors visited Leo's restaurant in Monton, Salford, on the day the business claimed it reopened in March 2021 and found cleanliness throughout food preparation areas was "very poor".
The inspector said it was clear a deep clean had not been undertaken for some time and certainly not before reopening, despite the fact the premises had been operating as a takeaway during the lockdown.
Officials could not check if the business was properly implementing food safety controls because no food safety records were available at all.
Gultekin Polat and Habib Faghih, directors of Istanbul Limited, which runs Leo's restaurant, pleaded guilty to failing to keep a food premises clean and failing to have a documented food safety management system.
Polat was fined £1,700 and ordered to pay £645 costs and £170 victim surcharge. Faghih was fined £1,400 and ordered to pay £645 costs and a £149 victim surcharge.
They pleaded guilty on behalf of the company, which was fined £1,400, with costs of £645 and a victim surcharge of £149.
The court heard the restaurant had previously failed an inspection in 2017 because of poor cleaning and a poor food safety management system. Polat had accepted a caution for these breaches, but it again failed an inspection in 2018 and in 2021 received a food hygiene rating of one, which means that "major improvement" is necessary.
Speaking after the hearing, Cllr David Lancaster, Salford Council's lead member for environment, neighbourhoods and community safety, said: "Poor hygiene puts people's health at risk and during the pandemic effective cleaning should have been paramount. The owners of this restaurant knew what was expected of them and had plenty of time to do the right thing. Our officers have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure safety standards across the city are maintained."