The woman who operated a dirty, cockroach-infested pizza shop has avoided a harsh penalty because she is a bankrupt single mother on Centrelink benefits, a court has been told.
Cecille Garcia Yalung, 32, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of failing to comply with a requirement of the food standards code, two counts of failing to comply with an improvement notice or prohibition order and one count of selling unsuitable food.
The Salisbury Plains resident left her former Hindmarsh pizza shop, which was then called Cici’s Pizza Kitchen, in filthy conditions in 2019. It was also infested with cockroaches.
City of Charles Sturt inspectors examined the property after receiving a complaint on July 8 that a pizza was sold with a staple in it.
During their inspections they found raw chicken was kept above vegetables in a coolroom that was so dirty it could not be effectively cleaned.
There was also mould found on produce, vegetables had been liquefied, some products were past their used-by date and there were no hand hygiene products like soap or hand towels or running hot water.
The mother of three was handed a two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $5250 to the City of Charles Sturt in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday.
Under the conditions of her bond, the Filipino national cannot sell or supply any food to members of the public.
In last week’s hearing, magistrate Simon Smart flagged that penalty because he said Ms Yalung would not be able to pay off the $280,000 worth of fines that could be applied.
The defendant was declared bankrupt in February 2020 and is the sole carer of her three children, all aged under five years, living on Centrelink benefits.
Charges against her co-accused, Ms Yalung’s ex-partner and father of her children Louay Shaker, were dropped in September this year.
“I’m concerned … of your extremely limited capacity to pay a fine,” Magistrate Smart said on Monday.
“Any other persons in this situation could expect a substantial fine, but from what I know of your financial situation, you will struggle to pay the fine and you and the children will likely suffer hardship.”
Despite being ordered not to sell and handle food after being handed a prohibition order on July 13, the defendant continued to trade for two days because she felt “compelled” to complete the 51 orders made by “persistent” customers, the court was told.
Ms Yalung was issued nine improvements notices over the state of the business between June 2016 and March 2018 and was aware of her obligations as a proprietor but chose to ignore them, the court was told.
The defendant no longer has any affiliation with the business, which now operates as the Hindmarsh Pizza Bar and is under new ownership.
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