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Restaurant owner fined and banned over fake five-star hygiene rating


The owner of an Indian restaurant in Derby has been fined and banned from running any company for five years after falsely advertising a five-star hygiene rating.

Rushan Ahmed, 31, owned company Four Brothers and ran restaurant Moza Derby, which was given a food hygiene rating of 1 in February 2015 by a Council EHO. In July 2015, the restaurant rating was reduced to a zero as no improvement appeared to have been made.

During the same year that the inspections took place, Ahmed placed three advertisements in the local magazine C & C of Oakwood, which claimed that the restaurant had received a five-star rating. Due to this, Derby City Council took Four Brothers to court in April 2016 and Ahmed pleaded guilty to his company engaging in unfair commercial practices. The company was fined £3171 and Ahmed was fined £1271.

The company closed down in September 2016, but the Insolvency Service looked into the incident and made a disqualification order in June 2018 at Birmingham County Court. The judge ruled that Ahmed would not be permitted to be directly or indirectly involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company. He was also ordered to pay costs of £4231.62.

Cllr Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Public Protection said: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme serves 2 important purposes. The first is to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels and other places you eat, as well as supermarkets and other food shops. The second is to encourage businesses to work hard to improve hygiene standards and promote greater food safety.

“This case shows that we will take action to protect consumers and the integrity of the scheme where businesses seek to gain an unfair advantage by misleadingly claiming a higher rating.”

Dave Elliott of the Insolvency Service said: “A zero food hygiene rating should have rung alarm bells for Rushan Ahmed and forced him to get his house in order. But he decided to publish a bogus 5-star hygiene rating designed to draw in business by making a false representation for commercial gain.

“This ban should serve as a warning to other directors tempted to engage in unfair commercial practices and if you abuse your duties you could be investigated by the Insolvency Service and lose the privilege of being a company director.”

We recently reported on BBC One’s Fake Britain programme, which covered London based café Velis receiving a fine of £2000 for having placed a false five-star hygiene rating sticker on the door of their premises and beside the till.

With the soon-to-be-imposed mandatory food hygiene display legislation in England, it is likely that fraudulent hygiene ratings may become more common. Fortunately for consumers and complaint business owners, councils are able to make examples of those who mislead the public by charging these huge fines and imposing ownership bans in extreme cases, preventing future businesses from copying the actions of Rushan Ahmad and the owners of Velis.

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