Bakery owner awaits judge's ruling on forced closing

Last updated 09:00 12/04/2014

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The owner of Bulls Bakery has taken his fight to keep his business open to court, while Rangitikei District Council says it has lost trust in his ability to serve safe food.

The Bulls Bakery in High St was ordered to close by the council in February after councillors voted not to renew owner Sathya Sun's registration.

Council staff had identified several concerns 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.

But Sun appealed against the decision, and had his chance to have his say in the Whanganui District Court yesterday. Although he offered no initial written reasons for his appeal, Sun said he had fixed all the structural concerns the council had with his business.

A cracked bench had been made smooth and worn vinyl flooring was also fixed, he said.

Sun said there had been concerns raised about bread with condensation in bags and sauce bottles being left out of fridges, but he had reasons for both instances.

The bread had condensation because his wife put it in bags while it was still warm, and the sauces did not need to be put in the fridge.

Any other food concerns were fixed, and all food from the bakery was safe.

"If it is something I can't eat, I'm not going to sell it to the customer."

Council environmental services team leader Stephen Costelloe confirmed in court the issues had been fixed, but the council still opposed renewing Sun's licence. "Going back even as far as May 2011, there have been ongoing attempts at improvement. Those attempts at improving have been short-lived."

The council's lawyer, Nicholas Jessen, said it had lost trust in Sun's ability to keep his business up to scratch.

"His most recent breach was January 2014, and in all of [his breaches] there have been quite unsafe food-handling processes shown.

"Council can't be confident that, with the ease of falling back into bad habits, Mr Sun's ongoing conduct will be satisfactory."

Judge David Cameron said Sun had shown competence by finally fixing the problems, which should have been recognised by the council.

But there were obvious issues with Sun's abilities, he said.

"It boils down to whether Sun's clearly poor record is justification for the council to refuse to renew that certificate, given everything else that was going on at the time.

"It is a question of balancing the need for a family to make a living against the very definite need to ensure food being offered for sale to the public is safe to eat."

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Cameron reserved his decision.

The Bulls Bakery is not to be confused with the Bulls Bakery & Cafe.

- Manawatu Standard

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