Kebab shop ‘does not cut the mustard’

A NORTHBRIDGE kebab shop owner was fined $18,000 after a customer spent two days in hospital with food poisoning.

Erdogan Topcu, who owns Prestige Kebab House on James Street, pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrate’s Court on Friday to 11 charges laid by the City of Perth.

Magistrate Benjamin Tyers heard Mr Topcu’s meat shaver wasn’t clean, and the food he was selling wasn’t refrigerated at the correct temperature.

Mould

The court heard there was mould in fridge vents; uncovered food that did not have labels or dates; and a food display cabinet was unclean and flaking paint.

The council’s lawyer, Tim Houweling, said Mr Topcu had ignored improvement notices and, despite making some changes, it had not been enough to keep his food safe for consumption.

“The conduct here is pretty bad,” Mr Houweling said.

“It’s the worst you can get.”

One of the charges laid against Mr Topcu was knowingly selling food that was unsafe.

Mr Houweling said Prestige Kebabs was unclean and a breeding ground for E. coli.

“It does not cut the mustard,” Mr Houweling told magistrate Tyers.

The court heard Mr Topcu kept a tray of meat on a hot plate.

He served body temperature meat from the top of the tray, while the meat underneath was warmer.

Mr Houweling said the E. coli was doubling every two hours.

The court heard the poisoned customer went to hospital on September 1 last year.

Council inspectors went to the shop two days later.

A week further on they took samples from the meat shaver and issued an improvement notice.

When inspectors went to the kebab house on October 1 last year, they found not enough improvements had been made, and Mr Topcu had not started a regular cleaning schedule.

Mr Houweling said E. coli was extremely dangerous, and people had died after ingesting it.

Mr Tyers ordered Mr Topcu had to pay Perth’s $2500 costs.

He granted Mr Topcu a spent conviction, saying he was remorseful and had cooperated with authorities.

“I’m satisfied that you are of good character,” he said.

“I’m satisfied that you won’t do it again.

“(But) it will have to be a significant fine: my hands are tied.”

by Nicole Lyttle

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