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Fast-food chain fined £100k after poor hygiene standards at Pontypool branch

Janet Cox, the head of health, safety and environment at KFC UK and Ireland said: “Last year, we were shocked and disappointed by what happened at our Pontypool restaurant.

"We completely accepted the findings of the May 2015 inspection and took urgent action, closing the restaurant and placing it under the review of our specialist operations team.

"Thanks to the measures taken and the new management in place, the restaurant was able to return to the high standards we expect.

"Ninety-seven per cent of our 890 restaurants in the UK have achieved a food hygiene score of four out of five or above, and we’re pleased to say that since September 2015, Pontypool has held a four star rating.”

KFC has received a £100,000 fine after the company pleaded guilty to three charges relating food hygiene at its Pontypool restaurant and drive-thru.

The company, whose Pontypool location is based at Lower Mill Field in New Inn, pleaded guilty at Cwmbran Magistrates last week after hearing supporting evidence from Torfaen council.

The court heard that on May 19, 2015, a senior environmental health officer from Torfaen council visited KFC in Pontypool following a complaint alleging the premises had no hot water and there were numerous cleaning issues.

“It’s disappointing that KFC could make such basic food hygiene errors and several warnings were issued prior to the officers’ inspection in May,” said Torfaen’s executive member for Public Protection, cllr Gwyneira Clark.

“Hot water is a legal requirement for the effective washing of hands, equipment and surfaces. Without hot water, detergents do not remove grease and dirt effectively, and disinfection processes to remove food poisoning bacteria become less effective.”

On inspection, there was no hot water to the wash hand basins in the toilets and the food preparation area as well as a lack of hot water to enable cleaning of the premises and food equipment.

It was also established that the hot water boiler to the premises had failed for 10 days prior to the visit from environmental health and water for hand washing, cleaning and disinfection of equipment and surfaces was not therefore available.

There were also no disinfectants available to ensure food preparation surfaces and equipment was safe to use.

Although the restaurant’s opening and closing inspection records noted that cleaning had been completed satisfactorily, in addition to the issues with the hot water, the premises and equipment were found to be visibly dirty and poorly maintained.

Following discussions with council officers, KFC chose to voluntarily and immediately close the premises until such time the hot water was reinstated and for deep cleaning to take place.

The premises re-opened the next day as a supply of hot water to the premise had been provided and standards of food hygiene had improved and due to the conditions found on the initial visit by officers a food hygiene rating of a 0 or urgent improvement necessary was awarded.

Cllr Clark added: “However, we recognise that the restaurant have worked positively with our officers throughout their investigations to ensure high standards can be maintained at all times. New management and improved hygiene procedures has resulted in significant improvement.”

In September 2015, the premises were re-inspected and received a food hygiene rating of 4 or good. These scores are also known as ‘the score on the door’.

The court fined the company - KFC (GB) Ltd - £100,000, awarding the council their full costs of £4318.86 and ordered the company to pay a victim surcharge.

South Wales Argus
May 2016