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Pizza and pasta restaurant fined £3,000 for food safety failures

The owner of a Kingston restaurant has been fined £3,000 for failing to keep his premises clean and breaking food hygiene rules.

Daniele Ragona, aged 51, owner of Bruschetta in London Road, pleaded guilty to three offences including a lack of an adequate hot water supply, dirty storage equipment and greasy, dirty conditions when he appeared before Lavender Hill Magistrates this week.

Council inspectors raised concerns over hygiene standards at Bruschetta in June 2012 and wrote to the owner with a list of required improvements. After further visits he was told that he had complied but warned that a repeat of the conditions found earlier was likely to lead to legal action. 

Later inspections found more food hygiene failings, and on one occasion Ragona became agitated and was very unhelpful, the court heard. He obstructed and pushed one council inspector before following him down the street shouting at him.

Police accompanied council inspectors on a subsequent inspection in February last year when they found dirty and greasy work surfaces, poor cleaning equipment, dusty and dirty flooring, and no hot water from the kitchen sink’s tap. Plastic trays used to drain washed dishes and cutlery were dirty and black with signs of mould in places. 

The court heard that Ragona had suffered illness and financial troubles, and he apologised for the offences and the way he had behaved. 

The Magistrates told Ragona that he was an experienced restaurateur, that he had many opportunities to put things right and had been unhelpful and obstructive.

Ragona was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £690 costs plus a £100 victim surcharge. 

Councillor Liz Green, Kingston Council leader, said: 

“We take any risk to public health very seriously, and work with food businesses to help them comply with the regulations. In this case there were warnings and opportunities to improve, but ultimately it was so serious that we had to prosecute.”

Diners can check the hygiene rating of any restaurant in Kingston online or by looking for a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme sticker. Environmental health officers rate premises for food safety – the higher the number, the better the hygiene. If you cannot see the rating on the door, ask yourself why. For more information go to food hygiene rating scheme.