Red Rooster fined $50,000 for dirty kitchen

Red Rooster has been fined $50,000 after the takeaway chain pleaded guilty to food standards breaches at one of its Brisbane stores.

Lawyers for Red Rooster admitted to 10 charges relating to the Food Standards Code when they faced the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The court heard Brisbane City Council inspectors found dirt, grease and mould in some areas of the store when they went there in 2009.

Prosecutor Luke Godfrey said the charges related to two inspections of the outlet in March and April of that year.

He said this was Red Rooster’s third conviction for Food Act breaches in south-east Queensland, with the company facing similar prosecutions in 2009 and 2005.

“It’s clear there is a large degree on non-compliance particularly regarding cleanliness,” Mr Godfrey said.

But defence counsel Richard Perry said none of the matters before the court were likely to lead to the contamination of food.

Mr Perry argued that some of the breaches were at the low end of the scale, including a hole in a wall and a broken plastic condiment tray.

The court heard the then-store manager was terminated following the inspections, and that a new Red Rooster store would be purpose-built on the existing site.

Chief Magistrate Brendan Butler accepted some charges seemed less serious than others, and that there was a significant improvement in the cleanliness of the store between council’s two inspections.

“However the extent of uncleanliness on the first occasion can’t be trivialised,” he said.

Mr Butler said management had allowed cleanliness to descend to the level outlined in the charges, but had since taken considerable steps to rectify the issues.

He fined Red Rooster $50,000 and recorded a conviction against them.

In a statement, Red Rooster said they regretted the events that occurred at Moorooka and acknowledged the store had failed to uphold the company’s high standards.

“Given the seriousness of the incident, significant management changes were made within the Queensland team in 2009,” a spokeswoman said.

“Correct food and safety and handling procedures have been reinforced with all employees of the store and regular, extensive internal audit tools have been introduced.”

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