Indian restaurateurs banned for life after food bug outbreak

04 September 2009
Indian restaurateurs banned for life after food bug outbreak

The owners of an Indian restaurant in Yorkshire where more than 60 customers were hit with a rare food poisoning bug have been banned described as "criminally inept" by a judge.

Mohammed Ayub and Abdul Ghafoor, of the Saffron restaurant in Ilkley, appearing before Bradford Crown Court for sentencing, were banned for life from working in the food industry, given suspended jail terms and community service orders, and told to pay costs.

At an earlier hearing the two men had admitted breaches of the food safety regulations and serving food unfit for human consumption.

Evidence had been given that 63 clients and possibly as many as 275 people had been infected by E.Coli and the rare Giardia Lamblia bug.

The bug passed into food and water served due to poor hygiene practices and, in particular, a poorly-maintained water filtration system.

Passing sentence, recorder Carl Gumsley said: "The hygiene practices at Saffron were an accident waiting to happen because of the criminally inept way the restaurant was run.

"It is clear that this restaurant, Saffron, was the source of the food poisoning suffered by a large number of people who had dined, and more specifically, drank water at the premises.

"Your restaurant is responsible through criminal ineptitude and sheer laziness for causing a large amount of misery to a large number of people who have suffered very unpleasant symptoms for up to two months.

"There were lies after lies and economies of truth. This clearly obstructed the authorities as they started the long and difficult task of tracing, isolating and eradicating the outbreak."

Ayub, 35, received a nine-month sentence suspended for two years and with an order for £250 costs.

Ghafoor, 34, got a six-month suspended sentence with £500 costs. Both were ordered to carry out 250 hours community service.

The restaurant has now closed.

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By Andrew Smith

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