The owner of a popular breakfast chain in Calgary has been fined more than $60,000 for health code violations that span 12 years.
Roxanne Taylor-King pleaded guilty to 43 charges under the Public Health Act at five of her six Nellie's restaurants across Calgary, resulting in a fine of $61,870 handed down on Friday.
Citations handed out by health inspectors date back to February 1998 include notices for mouse droppings in food in the kitchen, said Rob O'Neill, a lawyer for Alberta Health Services.
Officials also found that perishable foods were being stored on the floor, not being kept at a proper temperature, or not being handled safely by staff.
Other violations listed utensils and equipment not being cleaned and sanitized properly, and the lack of soap or paper towels in kitchen areas.
Provincial court Judge Barbara Veldhuis said Taylor-King had been given far more opportunities to clean up her restaurants than she deserved.
Officials with Alberta Health Services admitted their own high staff turnover with inspectors led to delays in prosecuting the charges.
Nellie's locations cited:
- Nellie's on 4th - 2308 Fourth St. S.W.
- Nellie's on 90th - 209-2515 90th Ave. S.W.
- Nellie's Kitchen - 738B-17th Ave. S.W.
- Nellie's on Kensington - 104-1414 Kensington Rd.
- Nellie's Cosmic Café - 1001 17th Ave. S.W.
Violations found at the Nellie's in Marda Loop were satisfactorily cleaned up, according to AHS reports.
Taylor-King said the height of Calgary's boom also meant high staff turnover for her restaurants and an inability to hire tradespeople to complete necessary renovations.
However, she pointed out that she has fixed several problems since prosecution began, such as personally passing a food safety handling course.
Outside of court, Taylor-King told reporters she would be working to keep all six of her restaurants up to provincial standards.
"I am sure it will be a wake-up call for a lot of people and it will definitely be a wake-up call for me," she said.
O'Neill said that any more violations at the restaurants will likely result in their closure
The violations at Nellie's were no worse than others found in other establishments, he added.