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Bakery left with £21k bill and closed over dead mice and infestation

Last updated: 27/3/2024

A Rushcliffe bakery was temporarily closed and left with a bill of over £21,000 after an investigation found its premises was infested with mice who had ravaged throughout food storage and production areas, including some dead and rotting.

Vale Bakery Ltd trading as Belvoir Bakery of Langar Road, Barnstone was found to have a severe, widespread and ongoing mouse problem which had led to contamination of food ingredients, food packaging, equipment and food contact surfaces leaving the premises in filthy conditions.

Nottingham Magistrates Court heard yesterday (March 26) despite being aware of ongoing pest activity, the food business failed to take appropriate action to prevent entry into food storage and production areas, maintain clean conditions, protect food from the risk of contamination and ultimately protect the public.

The premises were inspected in September 2022 following complaints received by Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Environmental Health Team.

Officers found evidence which included a dead mouse, mouse droppings and urine, gnawed food packaging and containers, pest nesting materials and contaminated food ingredients.

The court heard adequate procedures were not in place to manage the risks of contamination of food ingredients by pests and the premises were found to be visibly dirty with poor standards of cleaning observed throughout.

The business’ failure to implement and maintain adequate pest control procedures resulted in a severe infestation, requiring Environmental Health Officers to immediately close the business due to the imminent and serious risk to health.

The team exercised their powers under emergency legislation to prohibit its business operations and seized a quantity of food which was condemned by the court and destroyed.

Following the investigation, the bakery received a zero-food hygiene rating as a result of their findings. Subsequently the business requested a rescore and was awarded a 4-food hygiene rating after the introduction of measures to improve hygiene standards and has since reopened.

Vale Bakery Ltd pleaded guilty to seven counts of contravening The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and was fined £1,600, ordered to pay £19,395 costs and a victim surcharge of £640 leaving a total bill of £21,635.

Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Director Neighbourhoods Dave Banks said: “This case showed a total disregard for the bakery’s customers and the wider public’s health as the owners were so brazen and did not take the correct measures to avoid pests entering the premises or containing them.

“The conditions of the bakery were frankly awful and we were left with no option but to close it with immediate effect, it’s sadly among the worst cases our officers can recall investigating.

“The court bill sends a very strong and simple message to all food business owners that good compliance makes good business sense and if you place the health of others in jeopardy we will take strong action through the legal channels wherever possible.”