Inspectors find ‘no evidence whatsoever’ of rodent activity at Ribble Valley Indian restaurant after shrew in curry claim

Shajan Indian Restaurant. (s)
Shajan Indian Restaurant. (s)

A popular Ribble Valley restaurant which has been cleared by environmental health inspectors over claims a rodent was found in a customer’s meal is now considering legal action.

Police were called to a disturbance at the Shajan Indian Restaurant at Clayton-le-Dale after a diner in a party of eight claimed to have discovered a mouse in their meal.

The Longsight Road eatery was subsequently visited by environmental health inspectors, who found no wrongdoing on the part of the business, which has had an exemplary food hygiene record since 2012.

Heather Coar, Ribble Valley Council’s head of environmental health, said: “We were contacted on September 19th, by a member of the public who ate at the Shajan Restaurant on September 17th with a party of eight diners and allegedly found a ‘mouse’ in a vegetable curry at the table. We responded immediately and undertook an unannounced visit to the restaurant on September 19th.

“We conducted a thorough and detailed inspection, and found no evidence whatsoever of rodent activity. Additionally, the restaurant was found to have a pest control contract in place and an audit of the pest control records revealed no history of rodent activity.”

It is believed the rodent found on the plate of food was a water shrew and that it had been placed there after the meal had been cooked.

The investigation by environmental health inspectors found that it was “unlikely” a rodent found in a curry had been in the ingredients due to its size. They added that it was not a recognised pest species for food preparation.

The shrew also had a trauma injury on its back which could have been caused by a mouse trap, inspectors said.

The matter is now in the hands of restaurant owner Mr Mohammad Ali’s solicitors.

Mr Ali wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page: “We are aware of these allegations. We are victims of a targeted malicious attack by someone who has a grudge against the restaurant.

“We are complying fully with the Environmental Health officers from the council, who have visited and have found no issues of concern.

“We are proud of our high hygiene standard and have been awarded a five rating under the national food hygiene scheme.

“I have now placed this matter in the hands of my solicitor who will be taking the appropriate action.”