THE Health Ministry yesterday closed down a prominent restaurant in Labasa for non-compliance with the Food Safety Act 2003 and Food Safety Regulation 2009.
Divisional health inspector northern Rakesh Kumar confirmed the closure, saying the restaurant and other eateries in town were given seven days to comply with the Act after they were inspected last week.
Mr Kumar said the supermarket restaurant in question had failed to adhere to the rules even after the notice was issued and the owners left us with no choice but to close it down.
"This exercise should be a lesson to the other restaurants in town because we are more focused on public health than the business.
"We are warning such businesses to comply with the Act because we won't condone unhygienic practices and poor sanitation in these facilities."
Mr Kumar said they would only reopen the restaurant if the owners followed the rules.
"If they want us to reopen the restaurant, they will have to write to us and we will visit them for another round of inspections. When we're happy that it's safe for public use, we will give them the green light.
"But for now, it's going to be closed until further notice."
An executive of the supermarket said they were not given enough time to comply with the Act, however, they still managed to clean the restaurant as expected by the health officials.
"After closing the restaurant, the staff cleaned up the whole area, we were informed the officials would inspect again," the executive said.
"We waited but they didn't turn up and this is really not good because it's affecting business.
"Our restaurants are known to be the cleanest and hygienic eateries and we maintain them at that level all the time," the executive said.