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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
Food supplier to mosque is fined
A catering firm that supplied food to the most popular mosque in Europe has been fined 35,000 for breaching hygiene laws.

Maqbool Catering ran a kitchen and coffee shop at the London Mosque near Regent's Park which can attract up to 4,500 people for Friday prayers.

But it was closed when inspectors found mice and cockroach infestations, City of Westminster Magistrates Court heard.

The firm pleaded guilty to 11 counts of breaching hygiene regulations.

'Significant risk'

The court heard that environmental health officers found mouse droppings on work surfaces, on plates and in boxes of potatoes, food stored improperly and no hot water or soap in the sinks.

They told the company to clean up before a further visit, but officers returned to find fresh mouse droppings on food preparation surfaces, on washed utensils and on the floor.

This is one of the worst food hygiene cases we've seen
Leo Liebster, Chairman of the Bench

A live cockroach was seen in the food sink and cockroach excrement was found in an area where salad was being washed, the court heard.

Officers immediately closed the kitchens because of fears they posed a "significant risk" to human health.

Defence counsel Simon Butler said Maqbool had taken over the mosque's kitchens four months before the council inspection and had "inherited" poor conditions and untrained staff.

But Chairman of the Bench Leo Liebster said: "Maqbool Catering was already in the business of catering, it knew what standards were required, it knew the dangers in supplying food that could be contaminated in that way."

He added: "This is one of the worst food hygiene cases we've seen."

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