‘Systematic disgrace’: Directors convicted, fined $70K for unhygienic Chinese restaurant in Melbourne

Four directors and their company have been convicted and fined a total of $70,000 for the unhygienic and unclean state last year of their Chinese restaurant in Kew that a magistrate has described as a “systematic disgrace.”

san.choiA Melbourne court heard that the manager of San Choi on Kew voluntarily shut the premises for two days after Boroondara council officers found multiple contraventions of the Food Act and Food Standards Code in two inspections.

Prosecutor Stephanie Bower told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday that a mandatory inspection of the premises in High Street on August 11 found accumulated dirt, food scraps and other “visible matter” on the kitchen floors, under wok equipment and food preparation benches.

Ms Bower said food – oysters, diced chicken, pork and dumplings – was not stored in a way to protect it from the likelihood of contamination.

She said oysters were stored in a cool room and underbench fridges in “uncovered and exposed plastic tubs and bowls”, diced chicken was uncovered in a plastic tub on a kitchen bench and pork was stored uncovered on trays on kitchen shelving.

Ms Bower told magistrate Carolene Gwynn also that dumplings were kept in a walk-in freezer on an uncovered metal tray while other food was “stored in an outdoor cage area amongst cleaning chemicals and other equipment”.

She detailed how food, including pork shoulders and diced chicken, was stored outside of temperature control and had been for at least two hours.

Defence barrister Belinda Franjic said her clients, who had no prior convictions, were hardworking friends of 20 years from a “blameless existence” who were “equally to blame for the state of the restaurant”. Ms Franjic said only one had had daily involvement in the restaurant, which has operated since 2006, and that the circumstances of the offences had caused them shame and humiliation.