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Tasty Chicken 'n' Pizza ‘n’ mice ‘n’ raw sewage – but it’s cheap!

How do you fancy three hot wings, chips and a drink for only £1.50? Or what about a chicken steak burger, two hot wings, chips and drink for a mere £1.99? It doesn’t get much cheaper than that – but you’ll pay the price in other ways.

The enticing deals at Tasty Chicken ‘n’ Pizza at 122 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, are enough to turn the most frugal head, but prices don’t get anywhere near as low as the hygiene standards in this fetid food factory.

Waltham Forest Council’s Environmental Health Officers were stunned at what they discovered when they carried out an inspection on Tuesday 9 February. The toilet and toilet floor were spattered with faeces and because the toilet was cracked and leaking, food handlers were trailing raw sewage through the shop on their shoes.

A mouse infestation was in evidence, with mouse droppings found on food equipment, behind chest freezers and even on a plastic cover on top of some pizza dough. In the serving area, mice had been nibbling on chips that had been spilt.

Raw chicken juices had run all over the floor of the walk-in fridge and the handles and seal were encrusted with food debris. Chopping boards and cleaning cloths were filthy, and the magnetic strip used to store knives had a thick layer of grease. The sink trap was leaking and instead of fixing it staff had put a bowl underneath which had accumulated stagnant water. No soap was found to be available anywhere on the premises for washing hands.

There was an accumulation of rubbish in the rear yard, with one black plastic bag ripped open by pests and the contents strewn all over the yard. The broom that had been used for cleaning paints perhaps the starkest picture of the level of grime, with the bristles completely clogged with grease and food debris.

In addition to this catalogue of filth, the premises was in a very poor state of structural repair that had likely contributed in allowing vermin access to the building. The Food and Safety Inspector had no hesitation in immediately serving a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice on completion of her inspection.

The matter was then put before Stratford Magistrates’ Court on 12 February, where a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order was granted to the Council so that the takeaway can remain closed until it can satisfy the inspector that all the problems have been addressed. The Chief Magistrate said that the photos made her feel ill and didn’t hesitate to sign the order, no questions asked.

“I think it’s safe to say we will be looking to follow up with a prosecution of this business for such a flagrant disregard for the wellbeing of our residents,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment.

“The foul conditions in which food was being prepared is quite unacceptable and it is simply not something we are going to tolerate in this borough.”

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