Cockroach infested restaurant incurs hefty fines in Canberra

The former owner of a northside Thai restaurant who let cockroaches infest his kitchen and appliances has been ordered to pay fines worth thousands of dollars

rest.roach.canberraBen Thankum, the proprietor of Lao Thai Kitchen in Holt before it closed, allowed cockroaches to breed and die inside food tubs, on floors, walls and benches.

He was also charged with a failure to ensure clean surfaces, letting contaminated material spread in the kitchen and poor food storage procedures.

The restaurant was inspected by food safety officers in February 2014 who became concerned food sold at the shop would be unsafe for consumption.

Thankum appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday and was charged $2000 for each violation and ordered to pay court costs.

Court documents reveal the kitchen had fallen into disrepair with dead cockroaches left in dishwashing areas.

The documents also revealed food was stored in washing-up areas and sauces left on benches for eight hours at a time.

Ice buildup posed dangers in chest freezers with uncovered foods with exhaust fans clogged with grease.

Special magistrate Maria Doogan said the restaurant had since been sold and Thankum had begun working in a different occupation.