Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has never been considered very healthy; but now it has been shown to be unhealthy for reasons that have nothing to do with its nutritional values. The American fast-food chain has been ordered to pay out almost £19,000 after a cockroach was found eating a chip in one of its busiest branches in London. The incident came only four months after the chain was warned to improve its hygiene.
The cockroach was seen on a food dispensing counter near takeaway boxes and tongs used to serve chicken by an environmental health officer in a restaurant in Coventry Street, near Leicester Square in the West End of London. The officer also saw a mouse, flies and dried blood on the floor.
The City of Westminster magistrates court further heard that during the inspection at the Leicester Square branch, there was no hand wash in dispensers in the food preparation area. "There was no soap in the ground-floor food preparation room so, on the day of the inspection at least, it was not possible for food preparation staff to wash their hands properly," said Michael Goodwin, prosecuting.
Westminster City Council had given KFC a warning about hygiene failings at the branch four months before, the magistrates were was told. Last month, KFC admitted five breaches of hygiene legislation, for which district judge Howard Riddle on Monday fined it £11,000 and ordered it to pay £7,927 costs. Daniel Astaire, a Westminster councillor, said, "The standards of hygiene at this restaurant were appalling and simply unacceptable."
KFC admitted breaching five hygiene rules after the inspection in August 2008. David Whiting, for KFC, said the company took the inspection "very seriously".
"KFC accepts the condition that has been described to you," he said. "They fell below their own high standards and below legal standards."
Whiting said that after the inspection, KFC's pest control contractor at the time had its agreement with KFC terminated across the UK.
The Coventry Street outlet employs 65 people and operates from 10 am to 3 am. It has since been refurbished at a cost of £600,000.