Restaurant owner fined £10,000 after telling EHO officers mouldy chicken was in fact traditional crab meat dish

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

A London restaurant owner was given the largest possible fine of £10,170 at Stratford Magistrates’ Court, including £2,000 in council costs and a £170 victim surcharge on December 7th, 2021, after attempting "to pass off revolting mouldy chicken as boiled crab meat” when visited by environmental health inspectors in 2018.

The Evening Standard reports that the owner of Walthamstow restaurant Lagos Island, named as Gaby Kolajo, failed to close the Leyton site after EHO inspectors ordered it following their discovery of rodent and cockroach infestations, and was caught hosting a party on premise days after the order was issued.

At the time, it is said that he claimed only one half of the premises had earlier been shut down. An inspection of the restaurant then took place - and enforcers found a container of mouldy chicken in the kitchen, which the restaurant owner alleged was "a traditional Nigerian dish of boiled crab."

The owner was reportedly charged with failing to keep the premises clean, in good repair and good condition; failing to put in place adequate measures to control pests; opening the premises and preparing and serving food to paying customers while the health risk condition remained imminent; and placing unsafe food on the market which was unfit for human consumption.

Following the hearing, which took place at Stratford Magistrates’ Court on December 7th 2021, council deputy leader Clyde Loakes said: “The magistrate clearly saw through Kolajo’s claims and used their full powers as a warning that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

“The state of the kitchens was bad enough but the owner decided to ignore the environmental health officer and the court to continue serving customers, putting their health at serious risk.

“As a local authority we have limited powers in what we can do to a business - even one that so egregiously ignores order.

“But you can rest assured that we will use all the powers available to us to take action against the minority of food business operators who do not take their responsibilities seriously like Mr Kolajo.”

It is understood that the last inspection to have been carried out at Lagos Island took place in July 2020, when it received a food hygiene rating of zero.

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 7th January 2022

Restaurant owner fined £10,000 after telling EHO officers mouldy chicken was in fact traditional crab meat dish