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Restaurant Owner Who Pretended Mouldy Chicken Was ‘Boiled Crab Meat’ Fined

by : Emily Brown on : 07 Jan 2022 09:56
Restaurant Owner Who Pretended Mouldy Chicken Was 'Boiled Crab Meat' FinedWaltham Forest Council/Twitter

An east London restaurant owner has been fined after he refused to shut down and then pretended mouldy chicken was ‘boiled crab meat’.

Gaby Kolajo was hit with the fine after environmental health inspectors visited his Lagos Island restaurant, in Leyton, east London, and were horrified to find a mouse and cockroach infestation in 2018.

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The owner was served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice that ordered him to close the business until the infestations were dealt with, but just days later he was caught red-handed serving customers at a birthday party.

Kolajo claimed the order had only applied to the address of 417 Lea Bridge Road and that the customers were using the neighbouring property at number 419, despite the fact they were the same premises. Upon inspecting the restaurant again, enforcers found what they believed to be a container of mouldy chicken in the kitchen.

Lagos Island (Waltham Forest Council)Waltham Forest Council

Images of the scene show what appear to be numerous white growths on the meat, though Kolajo reportedly insisted it was actually a traditional Nigerian dish of boiled crab.

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Kolajo was charged with failing to put in place adequate measures to control pests and placing unsafe food that was unfit for human consumption on the markek, among other things, after which he was found guilty of four offences.

Following delays caused by coronavirus restrictions, the restaurant owner appeared in court last month and was given the largest possible fine of £10,170 at Stratford Magistrates’ Court, including £2,000 in council costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

The magistrate ‘clearly saw through Kolajo’s claims’, council deputy leader Clyde Loakes said, and as such ‘used their full powers as a warning that such behaviour will not be tolerated’.

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Loakes continued:

The state of the kitchens was bad enough but the owner decided to ignore the environmental health officer and the court to continue serving customers, putting their health at serious risk.

As a local authority we have limited powers in what we can do to a business – even one that so egregiously ignores order.

But you can rest assured that we will use all the powers available to us to take action against the minority of food business operators who do not take their responsibilities seriously like Mr Kolajo.

Lagos Island was last inspected in July 2020, at which point it was given a food hygiene rating of zero, meaning that it requires urgent improvement.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: Food, Now

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Waltham Forest Council
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