The Queens Plaza food court where another outlet has been fined after cockroaches were found.
The Queens Plaza food court where another outlet has been fined after cockroaches were found.

Eatery cops fine over cockroach find

ANOTHER reminder that inspectors are on the lookout - and nobody is exempt, not even the top end of town.

An eatery in one of Brisbane's most popular food courts has been fined $16,000 after cockroaches were found during inspections.

Vegetarian Indian outlet Vegeto in Queens Plaza was found riddled with the pest during food safety inspections in January and February last year, prompting Brisbane City Council to take its owners to court.

The stunning revelations came less than a month after Boost Juice, Mad Mex and Noodle Time's outlets in Queens Plaza were also whacked with fines over cockroach infestations which eventually required specialist fumigators.

During the case earlier this month, the court heard how an environmental health officer took 15 videos of the outlet's interior, with the worst video showing up to 50 live adult and juvenile cockroaches.

Vegeto's parent company Seven Hills Impex Pty Ltd was fined $16,000 for food safety breaches and its director Anil Agarwal fined a further $2000 for five executive liability charges by a Brisbane magistrate earlier this month.

Both the company and Agarwal pleaded guilty to all charges.

Defending Vegeto and its director, solicitor Mark Plunkett submitted Agarwal's tax returns, revealing he had been forced to close three shops and sell his own home to pay business debts.

"Financial strained circumstances are relevant pieces to be taken into account," Mr Plunkett said.

Magistrate Belinda Merrin, in reviewing the evidence, noted that several inspections in late January and February found significant breaches.

Ms Merrin outlined evidence submitted by the prosecution, and not disputed by Agarwal or his company, which included 15 videos taken on February 15, 2018, by an environmental health officer.

"In describing video 1, the comment is 'approximately 50 plus live cockroaches, adult juvenile and nymph,'" Ms Merrin said.

"That is but one of the videos," she said.

"In the majority of those videos, live cockroaches were observed."

Ms Merrin also outlined how there was "cockroach excreta on the walls and doors" and "food waste on the floor and under the preparation sink," and no effort had been made to seal obvious points of entry and harbourage for pests.

In making her judgement, Ms Merrin noted that Agarwal previously been fined $10,000 after rat excrement was found in a previous business he owned.



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