Sunderland woman banned from running food shops after string of hygiene breaches

Bangla Town Superstore on Eden Terrace has been permanently closed by inspectors Credit: Google Maps

A Sunderland shop owner has been banned from running a food business after a string of hygiene breaches.

The action was taken against Sofina Begum, of Gilsland Street, by Sunderland City Council’s environmental health team.Mrs Begum, who was the registered owner of Bangla Town Super Stores, Ltd in Eden Terrace, had previously been prosecuted for breaching food and safety regulations in 2019.

A further inspection in March 2021 unveiled similar problems including:

  • A rodent infestation

  • Poor food storage and unsanitary conditions

  • Inadequate record keeping and documentation

In the store’s butchery, inspectors found raw meat stored in open and damaged plastic containers, dried blood smeared across the walls, work surfaces, shelves and chiller cabinet, and no evidence of any appropriate cleaning being carried out.There were further safety hazards as the butchers’ bandsaw had no guard on it and there was no effective anti-bacterial soap.

Raw meat was stored in open and damaged plastic containers. Credit: Sunderland City Council

Appearing at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court on 29 June, Mrs Begum admitted three offences of failing to comply with the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations of 2013.

She was ordered to pay fines and costs of £1,637, and banned from operating any food business for at least 10 years.

In mitigation, Mrs Begum said that she was very sorry for what had happened, had nothing to do with the business and she had effectively been "forced" into being the owner.

Officers found a rodent infestation, poor food storage and unsanitary conditions. Credit: Sunderland City Council

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Claire Rowntree, said the prohibition order showed food laws must be followed to protect customers and staff.

"The management of this business in its handling, storing and general work practices in food safety and hygiene was simply not good enough," she said."We work closely with hundreds of businesses across the city as we inspect and offer them advice. "It is simply unacceptable for food premises to neglect and fail to protect the health and welfare of their customers."The council is prepared to take court action where businesses and owners consistently fail to protect the public."

Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...