The company and owner of AAJ India restaurant have incurred separate fines over nine counts of breaches of the Food Standard Code, and for handling and selling unsuitable food at the eatery in Launceston city in northern Tasmania.
The local Magistrates Court on Monday fined Karanvir Singh Bains and his company Bains Food Pty Ltd $10,000 each for their “very poor food handling and poor storage practices,” at the Charles Street restaurant.
The ‘terrible condition’ of AAJ India was discovered by council officers during a routine inspection of the eatery in the month of January.
The food safety breaches included temperature abuse of curries and rice, a dirty preparation area, a failure to keep decomposing and mouldy foods separate from other food items and the lack of hot water access and a functioning freezer.
Mr Bains who was in India, visiting his ailing mother at the time of the inspection, was informed by the council staff about the inspection and the actions they had taken, the court heard.
The 38-year-old restaurateur and his company each pleaded guilty to 11 charges, last month.
During the sentencing, the court heard that AAJ India and another Indian restaurant operated by Mr Bains’ company, Hari’s Curry had shut down due to loss of trade since the charges were reported in the media.
His lawyer told the court that Mr Bains was struggling with his finances, as a result of the closure of the two eateries.
Magistrate Simon Brown said people rely on restaurant operators to maintain food safety and standards and therefore, “Proper standards simply must be adhered to.”
Mr Bains claims to be a professional chef who came to Australia in 2006 with a dream to set-up a restaurant business, according to a post on the AAJ India’s business page on Facebook.