The food business operator of a Huntingdon takeaway faces a court bill of £4,450 after continually ignoring food safety officer’s advice.

Mr Pepi Smilkov of Bunters, High Street, Huntingdon, failed to turn up to a hearing in May 2018, and was convicted in his absence. Mr Smilkov subsequently appealed the conviction and was re-tried in Peterborough Magistrates Court on 31 January 2019, when he was fined £1,900, plus £2,500 costs with a £50 victim surcharge. In addition, the court imposed a Hygiene Prohibition Order prohibiting Mr Pepi Smilkov from participating in the management of any food business.

Mr Smilkov pleaded guilty before the court who passed sentence on five specimen offences. The breaches were witnessed during an inspection in August 2017 by Huntingdonshire District Council Environmental Health Officers after they received a complaint about the premises. Poor standards were found including:

  • no documented food safety management system
  • a lack of controls in place allowing for the risk of cross-contamination of food
  • inadequate temperature control
  • too little cleaning
  • unsatisfactory stock control and
  • a requirement for some structural work to be carried out, including repairs to the WC wash hand basin which was out of use.

A second inspection carried out in October 2017 found that little improvement had been made, with further contraventions observed including evidence of rodent activity. The business had also been left in the charge of non-competent food handlers whilst Mr Smilkov was out of the country.

Despite education and advice being provided by the district council, the food business has consistently received poor food hygiene rating scores, and this was taken into consideration by the courts.

Cllr Marge Beuttell, Executive Councillor for Operations and Regulation, said: "Huntingdonshire District Council is committed to protecting the health of the local community, and proud of the high proportion of food businesses that meet the standards. The Environmental Health team work hard to ensure that all business are aware of their responsibilities and will support those that need advice and guidance. However, businesses that continue to ignore food hygiene requirements will face robust enforcement action and ultimately financial penalties."