THE OWNER of a Redditch takeaway has been fined over £2,500 after he was found to have a mouse infestation in the rear storeroom of his business.
Mohammed Iqbal, of Dilshad Balti, Evesham Road pleaded guilty at Redditch Magistrates last Thursday (November 12) to five offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) regulations 2013.
The offences, related to the storeroom, included failing to ensure the premises was kept clean, failing to protect food against contamination and failing to have in place adequate procedures to control pests.
Environmental Health Officers from Worcestershire Regulatory Services visited the takeaway in October 2014 to carry out a routine check. They found inadequate food safety management systems in place and Mr Iqbal was given advice on how to deal with the issues identified.
But during a follow up check on January 6, officers discovered a mouse infestation in a rear storeroom which contained food stuffs.
Mouse droppings were found throughout – on both the floor and on shelving units, on top of food containers, packets and tins of food.
An unopened bag of rodent poison was also found on one of the food storage shelves – the bag had been chewed through by mice, spilling the loose poison onto the shelves below.
Because of the imminent risk to public health the storeroom was voluntarily closed by the owner and Iqbal immediately instructed a pest control contractor and the infestation was brought under control within a few days.
The court heard Iqbal, who said he had been in business for many years and had not encountered problems previously, has now put in place procedures to ensure there were no further problems and the business is now rated FHRS Level 3 (satisfactory).
Iqbal, aged 58, was fined £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £100 was ordered. A contribution to the prosecution costs was also made in the sum of £1,500.
WRS Joint Committee Chairman Cllr Bronwen Behan, said: “Our officers work hard to support our food businesses and we will always take action against premises which are badly managed and present a risk to public health.
“The level of fines the magistrates imposed should be a warning to all businesses that such offences will not be taken lightly.
“I am pleased that Mr Iqbal has continued to work with our officers and many improvements have been made to his business and he attended a recent training seminar in Redditch for Indian restaurants and takeaways.”