February has been a harsh month for Waltham Forest takeaways, as newspapers have graphically exposed three fast food outlets for shocking practices. Two out of those three are closed for bad food hygiene practices but the third outlet caught the attention of journalists for an altogether different reason. In an unnamed chicken shop in the borough, a female member of staff was assaulted by her male colleague while on duty.
Tasty Chicken ‘N’ Pizza on Hoe Street, Walthamstow was found covered in both human and animal faeces. Mouse droppings were seen on food preparation equipment and on pizza dough, while raw chicken juices and human poo were found trodden all over the floor.
Earlier in February, Fu Lam Chinese takeaway on Forest Road, Walthamstow was forced to close after it was discovered crawling with mice. An inspector branded the premises “absolutely filthy”, according to the Evening Standard, and reported how mouse droppings had been found in a cardboard box that was soaked in urine. Cockroaches were also discovered in the restaurant.
And on 15 February, the Metro described how Sarfaz Ashraf pestered and groped a female colleague while working at an undisclosed chicken shop in the borough. Ashraf was convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court of two counts of sexual assault and suspended for two years.
There is no legislation in England that requires restaurants to display a food hygiene certificate, however it is a legal requirement in Wales and campaigners are lobbying for this to be the case in the rest of the UK.
Research by Which? magazine has found that only 73 per cent of restaurants within the borough of Waltham Forest were compliant with food hygiene. Enfield was the worst borough for food hygiene, with only 54 per cent of businesses found to be compliant.
Campylobacter poisoning – obtained from raw chicken – currently affects around 280,000 people in the UK a year. The Food Standards Authority reckons up to a third of people will suffer from contamination in their lifetime.
With two takeaways in the borough forced to shut down this month, some of the others might want to think about having a spring clean.