Curry house boss punished after ignoring food safety warnings

The former owner of a Tolworth restaurant who failed to keep his business clean and in good condition is more than £1,000 out of pocket after admitting a string of food safety offences.

Ramnarraj Rajaratnam, the former owner of Spice House in Tolworth Broadway, appeared before Lavender Hill Magistrates this week.

The court heard that environmental health officers from Kingston Council found serious failings on three separate visits including dirty food storage areas and grease-stained walls and ceilings.

Despite warnings after the first inspection in September 2012 that failure to address the problems identified could lead to legal action, further inspections found more faults.

The following month officers returned to find cooked food on display at the wrong temperature and the kitchen in a similar condition to the previous visit. Utensils and containers used to store ingredients were encrusted with congealed food waste.

A third inspection in February this year found that despite some improvement the general standard of cleanliness was still unsatisfactory.

The court heard that Mr Rajaratnam had been running the business with a partner, but had accepted responsibility for day-to-day management. Mr Rajaratnam accepted that the council had given him notice to clean the premises but he had failed to do so due to lack of time. He had no food hygiene training.

Mr Rajaratnam, who no longer runs Spice House, pleaded guilty to five charges under food hygiene regulations on behalf of the company and to five similar charges against him in his personal capacity as director. He was fined £650 and ordered to pay £350 costs plus a £50 victim surcharge.

“We work in the interests of consumers to make sure that businesses follow the rules and regulations. Any breach of the law that risks public health is serious.”

Councillor Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council