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Restaurant fined for bad pork rolls

A Footscray restaurant at the centre of a pork roll food poisoning outbreak was convicted and fined $106,000 yesterday for food safety breaches.

One man died and 213 people suffered gastroenteritis after eating pork rolls from the Thanh Phu Restaurant on January 11, the Sunshine Magistrates Court was told.

Prosecutor Tim Morris said that of the 125 people tested, all had shown the same salmonella strain found in uneaten pork rolls bought at the Nicholson Street restaurant. The court heard 22 people were admitted to hospital during the outbreak.

Magistrate Tom Barrett ruled that he would take into account only the 125 ill people and not the death of Eric Tang, 49, of Doncaster, as a coronial inquiry was pending.

The restaurant was charged with selling unsafe food to four customers as representative charges of the wider offence.

Thanh Phu pleaded guilty to nine breaches of the Food Act, while its owner, Van Hai Nguyen, 54, pleaded guilty to two breaches.

Mr Barrett accepted that knock off vca butterfly necklace Nguyen had complied with all of Maribyrnong City Council's van cleef lucky alhambra necklace imitation food safety recommendations since the outbreak, but said the breaches were serious.

"Consequences have been severe," Mr Barrett said. "Safe administration of the food service industry is the essential aspect of the community's wellbeing and health. Courts have responsibility pursuant to the law to deter such breaches."

Mr Barrett convicted and fined Thanh Phu Restaurant $100,500 and convicted and fined Nguyen $5500. He also ordered the restaurant to pay $20,000 legal costs.

The restaurant was also found guilty of keeping food at wrong temperatures, failing to have a readily accessible thermometer as well as having a faulty hot water system and cockroaches on the floor.

Defence lawyer Ragu Appudurai said his client was remorseful and had complied with an extensive van cleef black onyx necklace imitation clean up operation supervised by the council. He said that Nguyen, who no longer sold pork rolls, had spent $23,000 on improvements and was $6500 out of pocket for loss of business.

In February, legal firm Maurice Blackburn Cashman launched a class action against the restaurant on behalf of victims. Mr Tang's mother, Nu Ly Tang, who was admitted to hospital during the outbreak, is the lead plaintiff.

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