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London restaurant owner banned after serious H&S breaches

17 December 2008

A London restaurant owner has been banned from ever running a food business again after serious health and safety breaches.

Pavlos Pittas, who ran Greek restaurant Zorba in Westminster, allowed food to go mouldy, left raw meat on top of cooked stock and failed to clean his kitchen properly.

Westminster City Council's Food Team brought Pittas to the prosecution after inspectors found rotten food and dirty conditions at the restaurant in October 2007. He was told he could no longer run restaurants, cafés or any other food business at Southwark Crown Court.

The council had previously prosecuted Pittas twice before for similar offences and failing to deal with a mouse infestation. Officers had seized unsafe food, closed the premises because of pests and invited Pittas to a free food hygiene training course. However, conditions at Zorba did not improve.

Pittas pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Food Safety Act including possession of unsafe food; failure to protect food from contamination; and failure to ensure food premises and equipment were kept clean.

Richard Block, operations manager for food, health and safety at Westminster council, said the council had worked "long and hard" to get Pittas to improve food hygiene at his restaurant.

"It's disappointing we had to go to such lengths to protect the public from what was a dirty restaurant that consistently failed to meet even the most basic levels of food hygiene but I am pleased with the judge's decision," he said.

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By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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