Cornish restaurant ordered to pay £25,000 fines for hygiene offences

A Newquay restaurant owner has been ordered to pay more than £25,000 in fines and costs following a string of food hygiene offences.

Maximo Grande-Vargas, 55, and GSDE, owners of Terraza, an Italian restaurant in Newquay, pleaded guilty to six food hygiene offences at a hearing at Bodmin Magistrates Court.

The court heard how inspectors found rotting, mouldy and out of date foods at the premises. The premises were not adequately pest proofed, equipment and rooms where food was prepared were dirty and large accumulations of rubbish, grease and dirt were observed within the rear yard.

The offences included failure to comply with three Food Hygiene Improvement Notices.  The issues identified included failing to have adequate procedures in place to control pests, placing food on the market which was unsafe for human consumption and not maintaining an effective food safety management system.

The court heard that officers from Cornwall Council’s Commercial Food and Safety Team had visited the premises on a number of occasions in 2022 and 2023, had provided advice to help with compliance but standards had not been seen to improve.

At the last inspection the premises received a one star rating on a scale of 0 – 5, under the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

Nick Kelly, Cornwall Council’s Food and Safety Manager, said: “Food Safety Officers always try and work with business owners informally, advising and signposting where necessary to ensure they comply with the law.”

“Despite some inspections taking a pause as a result of COVID we are now catching up with those inspections by adhering to the Food Standards Agency Covid Recovery Plan.  We are sadly finding businesses that are now non-compliant, that were compliant prior to COVID.

“We are also seeing a high turnover of staff working in hospitality and as such food business owners should ensure they are adequately trained and supervised. Even though times are hard, businesses should not cut corners in terms of food safety and put the public at risk.”

Grande Vargas was ordered to pay costs and surcharges totalling £7195, the Limited Company was fined £6000, and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £10,000 and a victim surcharge of £2000.

The Council confirmed that the business is currently closed for the winter but is due to re-open in the spring at which time it will be re-inspected.