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Indefinite ban for Ilford caterers who gave 32 people food poisoning in Chigwell

14:21 25 January 2016

Another picture inside the restaurant taken by health inspectors in July 2014. Picture: Newham Council

Another picture inside the restaurant taken by health inspectors in July 2014. Picture: Newham Council

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A catering couple found guilty of giving 32 people food poisoning at a community event have been banned from running a food business indefinitely.

Inspectors found the Memons' kitchen hygiene to be inadequate      Picture: Newham CouncilInspectors found the Memons' kitchen hygiene to be inadequate Picture: Newham Council

Kamran Memon, 44, and his wife Farhana, 49, owners of Plaistow restaurant Karachi Karahi in Barking Road, were also ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service following trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The pair, of Windermere Gardens, Ilford, were found guilty of supplying unsafe food – thought to be the popular Indian dish chicken biryani – when catering for a Sindhi Association of Europe (SAE) event in Chigwell, Essex, in August 2013.

Four days later the SAE reported the poisonings to Newham Council who carried out an inspection and banned the restaurant’s owners from providing outside catering.

But it wasn’t the first time they had been on the council’s radar. After an inspection in November 2012 the restaurant closed voluntarily for a deep clean. Again in July 2013 it was served with hygiene improvement notices.

Inspectors found the Memons' kitchen hygiene to be inadequate      Picture: Newham CouncilInspectors found the Memons' kitchen hygiene to be inadequate Picture: Newham Council

A fire in April of last year saw the restaurant close down.

At Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, Judge Alastair Hammerton said: “You deliberately closed your eyes to the risks by poor food management and went on regardless.

“Your failure to comply with the hygiene improvement notices amounted to recklessness. Had you complied I’m satisfied that the risks posed by serving inadequately warmed food would have been all but eliminated.”

Judge Hammerton also ruled the death of a 39-year-old woman who had eaten at the event was not caused by the couple’s food.

A photo taken by Newham Council health inspectors in July 2014 found the Memons' kitchen hygiene to be inadequate. Picture: Newham CouncilA photo taken by Newham Council health inspectors in July 2014 found the Memons' kitchen hygiene to be inadequate. Picture: Newham Council

After considering the analysis of experts, he said there was not sufficient evidence to prove her death came as a result of food poisoning.

“At the end of the day the lack of microbiological evidence means that I can’t be certain,” he said. “That the experts can’t produce an alternative explanation is not enough. I’m therefore not convinced that the necessary causal link is made out.”

In response to the sentencing, Cllr Ian Corbett, mayoral advisor for environment and leisure, said the judge had been “too lenient”.

He said: “[The restaurant] repeatedly ignored the warnings to clean up their act from our officers and showed no regard for the safety of their customers.

“At the very least they should have received a substantial fine, or even time behind bars, for the reckless behaviour they have shown. Community service is little penance.”

The couple was also ordered to pay £25,000 in court costs.

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