Top Teesside hotel fined £20,000 for food hygiene offences

A top hotel based in the Teesside town of Yarm has failed inspections undertaken by the local council’s food safety team and has been fined over £20,000.
The kitchen at the Tall Trees Hotel was inspected by officers for Stockton Council as part of a routine food hygiene check in September 2012. Uncovered in the inspection were problems such as:
• Food that was past its use-by date,
• Broken floor tiles and missing ceiling panels
• Grease and dirt found in food preparation and storage areas, as well as on floors and equipment
• Decomposing chicken products
• Generally poor standards of food hygiene training, practices and standards
The general manager of the hotel, Bassam Mekkaoui, was brought before Teesside Magistrates’ Court to answer to a total of 15 food hygiene offences. Guilty pleas were entered for all charges and the company was fined £20,600 and ordered to pay £950 in court costs.
Although initially shocked at the size of the fine, especially considering the hotel had been operating at a loss of around £20,000 a week, a spokesperson for the Tall Trees said that improvements had been made to food hygiene standards in the hotel’s kitchens:

“Environmental health has confirmed it is satisfied with our actions and the new head chef will ensure the improvements made are sustained,”