A restaurant boss allowed such poor hygiene in his kitchens that experts said customers were “incredibly lucky” not to have been made ill.
Vincenzo Fuccio, from Brighton, was yesterday (February 6) banned from running any food business after a court was told he had ignored safety warnings for years.
The 43-year-old was running La Vecchia Scuola in York when council officials became concerned about food safety at the restaurant.
York Magistrates’ Court was told City of York Council officers had tried for years to persuade Fuccio to improve conditions there after first warning him in 2008.
Hygiene breaches continued and in August 2011 he was served with an improvement notice, which he didn’t comply with.
He ignored basic kitchen safety rules such as keeping raw and cooked meat apart and failed to keep cooking tools and surfaces clean.
The restaurant received a zero rating under the council’s five-star rating system for food hygiene when it was inspected in 2011.
Staff at the restaurant had ignored basic food safety techniques that anyone would use in their home kitchen.
They included one member of staff coughing into his hand and then continuing to work with dough, dirty surfaces and failures to keep hot food hot and chilled food cold enough.
Prosecutor Anna Barker said: “These could have had a very serious impact on public health. We are incredibly lucky. All of the incidents I have outlined could have led to food poisoning.
“It could have happened to anyone who ate at that restaurant. These offences could have led to something much more serious.”
Fuccio, now of Garden Street, Brighton, pleaded guilty to 13 food hygiene offences and asked for 16 more to be taken into consideration.
Magistrates said he had shown a “blatant disregard” of the regulations, but their powers were limited to a fine and by his income.
They fined him £3,200 and ordered him to also pay £2,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. The magistrates also banned him indefinitely from managing any food business.
They were told he had been sacked as the restaurant’s manager and it is now run by completely new management.
Fuccio told magistrates: “I have lost my family, I have no job, no business, no family, I have nothing left.”
He said publicity after an earlier court appearance in the case had “killed the business” and that he and the staff had “tried their best”.
He declined to comment as he left court.
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