THE menu at a busy Italian restaurant was more than a little dated.
The owner did not follow the “use by” instructions on his food.
Blackpool magistrates heard hygiene bosses found pancetta 22 days past its use by date, sliced ham 27 days out of date, and so-called fresh lasagne pasta 12 days out of date at La Piazza on Cedar Square, Blackpool.
Salami was 20 days past the use by deadline, crevettes 11 days past and anti pasti eight days beyond their date.
Owner Domenico Dell’Armi, 56, of Carleton Gardens, Poulton, was fined £2,845 after admitting eight food hygiene offences.
It was the second time he had been prosecuted since 2009 when he was fined £2,500 under the same legislation.
Lynda Bennett, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, said inspectors called when the restaurant was busy serving customers, many of them attending the annual dance festival at the Winter Gardens.
They went into a storeroom where they found spilled oil and cracked plaster, and discovered the out-of-date food in the fridge and freezer.
She added: “It’s not acceptable if you are asking paying members of the public to eat food after its use by date.
“Officers thought the dirt and grease had built up over a period of time.
“The levels of cleanliness were poor. The dance festival was on and their premises were busy and there was cause for concern with public health.”
She said the inspection had been prompted by a member of the public who had claimed to have been made ill by food eaten at La Piazza.
Mitch Sarangi, defending, said some of the food involved in the offences had been bought fresh but then placed in a freezer.
He said his client accepted the items should have been re-labelled, and added: “At the time of the inspection my client’s chef had let him down and his dish washing machine had broken.
“There is an argument he should have just shut down the premises.
“But this was his busiest time of the year and was the difference between making a profit and a loss in what is a very difficult time.”
Last month La Piazza received a zero in the council’s food hygiene safety ratings meaning “urgent improvement is necessary”.
--- La Piazza in Cedar Square has no connection to La Piazza 2 on Red Bank Road, Bispham.