The former operator of a pizza shop that was found to be filthy and infested with cockroaches admitted to taking about 50 orders after being directed not to trade, 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 formerly owned Cici’s Pizza Kitchen on Port Rd at Hindmarsh, where food at the store was found on cockroach-infested benches in September 2019.
Raw chicken was kept above vegetables in a coolroom that was so filthy and dilapidated it could not be effectively cleaned, according to court documents.
The business also sold a pizza that had a staple in it before City of Charles Sturt inspectors found mouldy food and liquefied vegetables during a visit.
Yalung appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court, where Paul Kelly, for the local council, detailed the horrifying conditions at the business.
He said an unknown foreign matter was detected in pizza dough, there were stained chopping boards deteriorating in the sink and there was no running hot water at the premises.
“No care was taken for pests despite repeated warning,” Mr Kelly said.
“She simply refused to correct this behaviour over a long period of time.
“No person became sick as a result, but it was the risk.”
The defendant was issued nine notices about the state of the business.
The court was told that the Filipino national spoke English as a second language but admitted to being aware of her requirements and obligations as a proprietor.
But her lawyer Sonia Griesbach said her client wasn’t in charge of operations at the family-run pizza bar.
She said Ms Yalung traded despite being issued with an improvement notice because she felt pressured by “persistent” customers that made phone orders.
The lawyer said her client attended the premises with the intention of cleaning it but fulfilled 50 orders while there.
“She is extremely grateful no one was made ill because of her offending,” Ms Griesbach said.
“She is very remorseful and tried to work with council to remedy the breaches.”
Magistrate Simon Smart told the court he would “cut to the chase” about the defendant’s sentence.
He said he was considering imposing a good behaviour bond with specific conditions for most of the charges because the $280,000 worth of fines that could be applied would be disproportionate to Ms Yalung’s income.
The court was told that Yalung was declared bankrupt in February 2020 after the business failed, and she was a single mother of three children aged under three years on Centrelink benefits.
“Any sum I fix is unpayable for this woman,” Mr Smart said.
“She could pay it off over time but it will be from now until kingdom come.”
The business has since been sold to new owners and renamed Hindmarsh Pizza Bar.
Yalung will be sentenced next week.
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