Chinese takeaway ordered to close after 'evidence of rodent nest' found

The Aberfan Chinese takeaway was given a zero food hygiene rating and ordered to close. Credit: Media Wales

Shocking pictures show the inside of a Chinese take-away handed a £1,600 fine after inspectors found "evidence of a rodent nest" and other serious concerns.

The Aberfan Chinese, on Aberfan Road in Merthyr Tydfil, was visited by an environmental health officer last August, who swiftly gave the eatery a zero food hygiene rating and ordered it to close.

Merthyr Tydfil Council has now shared photos from inside the take-away and said that the owner of the business was taken to court for breaching food hygiene regulations.

The council said the hygiene inspector found evidence of a "rodent infestation" and that it was clear the issue had been ongoing "for a long period of time".

Council inspectors found "clear evidence" of a rodent nest within the storeroom where food ingredients were being stored. Credit: Media Wales

In a statement released on Friday, February 11, Merthyr Tydfil Council said The Aberfan Chinese takeaway was visited by Environmental Health after a member of the public claimed they'd spotted rats at the rear of the business.

An unannounced inspection on August 4, 2021 identified "immediate hygiene concerns within the business" and found that food had been exposed to contamination, as well as evidence of a rodent nest.

The statement explains: "The Aberfan Chinese takeaway in Merthyr Tydfil was found to be operating in poor hygiene conditions and ordered to close due to a rodent infestation.

"The council’s environmental health department received a complaint from a concerned member of the public who had spotted rats in the rear yard of the food business. An unannounced inspection carried out by an environmental health officer on August, 4 2021 identified immediate hygiene concerns within the business."

An unannounced inspection identified "immediate hygiene concerns within the business" and found that food had been exposed to contamination. Credit: Media Wales

The statement added: "The kitchen was dirty, food was being exposed to contamination and there was clear evidence of a rodent nest within the storeroom where food ingredients were being stored.

"The inspector found serious defects within the structure of the premises which allowed rodents to enter with ease and a bag of poison had been thrown on the floor hoping that this would deal with the problem. It was clear that this issue had been ongoing for a long period of time and the business owner failed to deal with the issue properly.

"Given the unacceptable conditions, the inspector served a legal notice to formally close the business until improvements were made and the business was issued a food hygiene rating of zero, which is the lowest score that can be given."

Merthyr Tydfil council member Geraint Thomas added: "This case demonstrates that our Environmental Health Officers will take swift and necessary action to protect public health when there are clear failures within a food business that put customers at risk.

"It is essential that proprietors of food businesses comply with food hygiene regulations. The Covid pandemic should not be used as an excuse by food business operators to allow their hygiene standards to slip.

"I would urge all consumers to check the food hygiene rating of a food establishment before they consider eating from there. It is a legal requirement for ratings to be displayed in Wales to help consumers make informed choices.”

Owner of The Aberfan Chinese, Mrs Xiu Hui Xiao attended Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates Court on January 26, 2022, and pleaded guilty to nine charges of breaching food hygiene regulations, the court confirmed on Friday.

The council said that Mrs Xiao was fined a total of £1,600 and ordered to pay costs of £697.50 and a victim surcharge of £160.

It is not known whether environmental health has visited the establishment since its visit last August.

As of February, 11 2022, Aberfan Chinese has a zero food hygiene rating on the official food hygiene standards website.

For the three areas listed on the website, "hygienic food handling", "cleanliness and condition of facilities and building", and "management of food safety," the inspector has remarked "major improvement necessary".