Majid Ali, Muhammad Akram and Hamed Jabbar – who together own Star Takeaway in Oxford Road – pleaded guilty to four offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 and breaching Food Hygiene Regulations at Reading Magistrates Court on Thursday.
The court heard how, on September 4 last year, the takeaway sold a customer a 12” chicken and sweetcorn pizza with cling film embedded in it, which was then eated by the buyer’s two young children.
When the buyer complained to Reading’s Environmental Health department, council officers visited the restaurant and found that staff were untrained in food hygiene principles, that there was no food safety management system in place and that lettuce was at risk of contamination from defrosting raw chicken nearby.
At the hearing, District Judge Davinder Larchar said: “Had the children choked to death on the cling film, you all could have been facing a more serious charge now at the Crown Court – murder or manslaughter.
“Health and safety practices are there for a reason: to protect the public. You started a new food business and have tried to do it on the cheap, without any training given to staff. You should have put all the procedures in place before opening for business.”