A restaurant in downtown Edmonton has been slapped with nearly $18,000 worth of fines for a number of health violations. The owner of the restaurant, along with her son, pleaded guilty in court in connection to the violations.

An Alberta Health Services' prosecutor says the P & L Chinese Restaurant located at 94 St. and Jasper Ave. has repeatedly violated health codes over a number of years, but reveals if the fines are paid, the business can stay open.

"Uncovered food in the cooler and they would stack one bowl on top of the others, so if the bottom of the bowl is dirty it's contaminating the food it's sitting on there," said Robert O'Neill.

O'Neill describes this as cross-contamination, and it was one of many found at the restaurant. He says inspectors tried to work with the owner and staff to educate them on how to properly store and handle food, but the problems continued for six years.

The owner and her son pleaded guilty to violations such as cross-contamination, storing food at room temperature, poor sanitation, and no soap for employees. The fines total $17,664.00.

"For a small restaurant like this it's a fairly big penalty, so, hopefully it sends the message to them that if these types of violations continue in the future there will be serious consequences," said O'Neill.

The prosecutor says the owner has been warned that if the health violations continue, the business could risk losing its food permit and have to close the doors for good.

If the fines are not paid the owner could face more than 200 days of jail time.

With files from Dez Melenka