Chickens were not fit for eating

FOOD inspectors found chickens in the freezer of a Great Yarmouth Chinese restaurant which were covered in faeces, badly bruised and had no official record of where they were bought, a court heard on Wednesday.

FOOD inspectors found chickens in the freezer of a Great Yarmouth Chinese restaurant which were covered in faeces, badly bruised and had no official record of where they were bought, a court heard on Wednesday.

Magistrates ordered the nine chickens to be destroyed because they were unfit for human consumption after the owner of the Ocean Dragon takeaway could not prove where and when he purchased them.

Yarmouth Magistrates' Court heard the poultry was found in a routine inspection of the Havelock Road premises on the evening of September 11.

Owner Gua Lin Zheng gave conflicting accounts of where he bought the chickens but checks at Tesco and suppliers AMB proved the chickens did not come from there.

He also could not show Yarmouth Borough Council environmental health inspectors any proper receipts concerning the purchase of the animals. Without the receipts it was impossible to know if the chickens had been badly treated before they were slaughtered or if the birds had been fed any illegal substances.

Grizelle Davey, who led the inspection, also told the court the chickens had faecal matter on them and were badly bruised.

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She said: “At the time of the inspection there was nothing to prove where these chickens came from.”

One of the condemned chickens was shown in the court to compare it to a normal looking one bought from Tesco.

The court heard Zheng had been a chef for nearly 10 years and he would cycle to Tesco to get chickens for his restaurant.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “Because of my experience I would know if something is wrong, contaminated or not fresh. I would throw it away straight away.”

As well as the confiscation and destruction on the nine chickens on food safety grounds, Zheng was ordered to pay £278 costs to the borough council.

Following the inspection the Ocean Dragon received one star out of five for its food safety standards and was made subject to a food hygiene improvement order.

After the hearing Ms Davey said: “I think today shows we are out there making sure food is fit to eat and that in the present credit crunch restaurant owners are not cutting any corners.”