Bristol burger van given six months to clean up hygiene standards or could be shut down

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There was a lack of hand washing and raw meat had been left in open containers next to cans of drink

The owner of a burger van in Yate has been given six months to clean up his hygiene standards. The Breakfast Box on Dean Road could be shut down if practices are not improved, after health and safety inspectors raised concerns about food poisoning.

Previous issues at the burger van included a fridge that wasn’t cold enough, a lack of hand washing, and raw meat left in open containers. Inspectors will visit the Breakfast Box twice more, and if problems persist, the owner could struggle to renew his street trading consent.

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Mehmet Kebabci told a licensing hearing at South Gloucestershire Council, on January 25, he bought a new trailer last summer, and has been checking and recording the fridge temperature regularly. He urged the hearing to give him “one more chance”.

Mr Kebabci had applied to renew his licence, when environmental health officers objected on the grounds of public safety. The hearing granted him six more months to trade and clean up hygiene practices, before he will have to apply for another renewal.

Licensing officer Emma Pain said: “The food health and safety team object to the proposed licence due to the lack of confidence that the operator will improve food safety standards to a suitable level, ensuring all customers are protected against potential food poisoning or food-borne diseases.

“The air temperature of the fridge used to store raw meat and cheese was operating above eight degrees at the time of the visit. Food stored in this fridge is at high risk and would support the growth of food-poisoning bacteria and their toxins.

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“Open packets of bacon were being stored in the fridge next to cans of drink. They must ensure that raw foods are stored away from ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination. Food must be stored in suitable containers and be covered.

“At the time of the visit, [the inspector] observed they did not wash their hands during the entire time she was there, even though they were preparing and serving food to customers. They must regularly wash their hands to maintain good personal hygiene and prevent cross-contamination. The hand basin was not in operation and no hand soap was available.”

Food van owner Mehmet Kebabci appeared at a licensing hearing at South Gloucestershire CouncilFood van owner Mehmet Kebabci appeared at a licensing hearing at South Gloucestershire Council
Food van owner Mehmet Kebabci appeared at a licensing hearing at South Gloucestershire Council | ldr

The Breakfast Box was rated two out of five by food safety inspectors last August, meaning the van “needs improvement”. This was a higher rating than previous visits, when the van was rated one out of five, meaning it needed “major improvement”.

The owner of the van told the hearing he had invested £14,000 in upgrades, including buying a new van last summer. He added that the previous van was “26 years old” and parts would often break down.

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Mr Kebabci said: “2021 was a really bad time for us. I was trying to be working day and night, to cover my family and financial things. Yes, that’s correct, I can’t say anything, but I’m not that bad. I tried to do the best things for everybody.

“From when I started in 2015 up until 2024, I’ve never had any complaints from customers. The problem is that when I started the business, the trailer was 26 years old. I tried to fix every single thing. But at the end of the day, a 26-year-old trailer, if you’re spending money and time, it’s exactly the same. If you fix something, in a couple of months it’s broken again.

“In June 2023, I got a new second-hand trailer. I did a couple of things to change it, I bought a new fridge for example. I’ve changed everything. I’ve fixed the pump and I’ve got a new hot water tank for hand washing. Just give me one more chance.”

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