Takeaway is fined after rats are found in food storage building

Released on June 13, 2017

A kebab takeaway in Didcot has been fined after council officers found that a food storage building was infested by rats. 

On Tuesday 6 June at Oxford Magistrates’ Court, Ferhat Bakabala, the proprietor of the Didcot Kebab, previously known as ‘Delight 2’, pleaded guilty to four food safety offences.  As a result he was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs and pay a £50 victim surcharge. 

Magistrates heard how following a tip off from a member of the public in August 2016, food safety officers inspected ‘Delight 2’ and found that a storage building at the rear of the premises was infested with rats. They saw rats in the window before entering the area and even found live rats caught in a waste oil barrel.  The building was also filthy with dirt and rat droppings and had construction defects that allowed pests access to the storage building and important cleaning and pest control procedures were not being followed. 

No evidence of rat activity was found in the takeaway kitchen which is in a separate main building, meaning the takeaway itself could remain in operation. 

Officers immediately prohibited the takeaway from using the storage building and forced them to dispose of all food containers which had been stored there. 

Council officers revisited the storage building a number of times following the original inspection. Within two months Mr Bakabala had made sufficient improvements to the structure of the building and to his pest control procedures.  As a result, officers lifted the prohibition and allowed the takeaway to use the building again. 

Diane Moore, Food and Safety Manager at South Oxfordshire District Council, said “All food premises have a duty to ensure that any storage area is protected against pests.  Not doing so poses a real risk that goods could get contaminated, potentially causing a danger to people who buy food there. 

“Food safety regulations are in place for a very good reason and we will not hesitate to take action against any business which fails to meet them.”

The takeaway, now trading as ‘Didcot Kebab’ was last inspected in February 2017 and awarded a Food Hygiene Rating of “3 – Generally Satisfactory”.