Emergency legal action against takeaway a first for council

The Red Dragon takeway, Bridge Street, Banbridge. Pic by Google
The Red Dragon takeway, Bridge Street, Banbridge. Pic by Google

The use of emergency enforcement action to shut down a rat infested fast food takeaway was a first for the Banbridge area, it has been confirmed.

Environmental Health officials from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council went to court last week to get an emergency notice to prohibit the Red Dragon takeaway on Bridge Street from serving food to the public, arguing that conditions at the business posed a risk to customers’ health.

The council took the emergency enforcement action against the owner of the takeaway after an inspection carried out by an Environmental Health Officer on August 1 uncovered a rat infestation where food was being prepared in the premises, posing a risk of contamination.

A council spokesperson confirmed that this is the first time the new ABC Council has taken such action anywhere in the Armagh, Banbridge or Craigavon area, and that it’s the first time such action has ever been taken against a food business in Banbridge, in the new ‘super council’ or legacy council era.

Speaking about the case, the council’s Head of Environmental Health said: “We are pleased that the court confirmed our actions in relation to preventing the premises from operating where there was an imminent health risk posed by rodent contamination.

“It is regrettable that given the advice and support that is available from the council to help businesses understand food safety laws that such action was necessary. Taking emergency legal action was the only option given the risk to health.

“The business can reopen again in the future when the council is satisfied that conditions no longer present a health risk.

“The vast majority of food businesses in the borough take their food hygiene responsibilities very seriously. Let me take this opportunity to remind the public that food businesses are legally required to display their hygiene ratings at the entrance to their premises. This information can also be found at www.ratings.food.gov.uk”

It’s understood the owners of the Red Dragon will have to undertake remedial works at the premises and then contact the council to arrange a re-inspection before they are allowed to open again.

Speaking on Monday, a spokesperson for the business revealed that work is being carried out to improve the kitchen at the premises and said he hopes the takeaway will reopen in the coming weeks.