'Unhygienic' bakery owner may face charges

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 31/01/2014

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The owner of a Bulls bakery that has repeatedly flouted food safety rules and ignored orders to close will need to go to court to avoid having its doors shut permanently.

The Rangitikei District Council voted yesterday not to renew Sathya Sun's registration for Bulls Bakery on High St. It has also given chief executive Ross McNeil authority to take court action against Mr Sun.

Council staff have found several issues at the bakery in the past 12 months, including offal from unlicensed sources, unwrapped pigs' heads being kept in a freezer, cooked and uncooked food being kept together in fridges, dead flies, mouldy meat and sick children playing with kitchen utensils.

Several councillors yesterday said food hygiene at the store was unacceptable. Mayor Andy Watson said the council's food safety staff had tried to work with Mr Sun but the situation had become untenable.

"We've had a business here that's been given explicit directions and then has refused to comply with those directions."

Cr Mike Jones said council staff had spoken with Mr Sun many times. The council had an obligation to look after the health of Bulls residents and visitors, he said, though it was "tragic" a council motion was potentially closing a business.

Cr Soraya Peke-Mason said she was not completely convinced the problems with the store were unsolvable. To the council's knowledge, nobody had been made sick from food at the bakery, she said.

Mr Sun had asked the council for permission to speak at yesterday's meeting but did not attend.

He has said the council is being too nitpicky with its inspections.

Council environmental services team leader Stephen Costelloe told the meeting the situation at the bakery had improved when he visited on Monday. He said it had been "horrible" in the store at times but he wanted to give Mr Sun another chance.

By Monday significant improvements had been made to the store, its equipment and food handling processes, Mr Costelloe said. He suggested a strongly worded warning be delivered to Mr Sun, to be followed by regular inspections to make sure the improvements were sustained.

"Prior improvements have been short-lived," Mr Costelloe told the council. "We do have to balance public safety to some extent with the needs of the operator - he's a man with a wife and two small children."

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- Manawatu Standard

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