A RESTAURANT has been told to pay fines and costs totalling more than £16,000 after investigators found food that was unfit for human consumption.

Environmental health chiefs visited Gandhi Indian Cuisine in Commercial Road, Totton, and discovered a mouldy cooked curry in the fridge.

New Forest District Council says the restaurant showed a “blatant disregard” for the law by failing to comply with basic hygiene standards.

A council spokesman said: “The inspection of the premises revealed that the equipment and structure of the kitchen, dry goods room and toilet were unacceptably dirty.

“Dirt was found on the walls and floors as well as taps, electrical switches, cooker knobs and door handles, which could have led to cross contamination of foods.

“Food debris was found on refrigerator shelving and hand-washing soap had not been provided in the kitchen.

“Officers revisited the premises on two further occasions and noted some cleaning had been done, however the standards of cleaning still did not meet the legal minimum standard.”

A representative of Gandhi Indian Cuisine (Totton) pleaded guilty to eight food hygiene offences at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

The restaurant was fined a total of £13,500 with £2,922 costs – a total financial penalty of £16,422.

The restaurant was prosecuted following a routine food hygiene inspection carried out last June.

The council spokesman added: “Prosecution in this case was considered appropriate because the business had a blatant disregard for the law and was not maintaining the minimum legal standards.

“Despite officers requesting works to satisfy food law requirements, they found continuing unacceptable conditions.”

Cllr Edward Heron is the district council’s Cabinet member for the environment.

He said: “It’s the council’s policy to adopt an educative and persuasive role in relation to enforcing food safety law.

“Formal action was necessary in this case due to the serious nature of the offences.’’