Chinese café takes away a £1,000 fine for pest infestation

By on 03/09/2015 in News

A Birmingham cafe, which pleaded guilty of two offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 was ordered to pay £1,976 at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (3 September 2015).

SMT Village Café Ltd, which is based at 6 Ladywell Walk, Birmingham, and operates The Village Café at the same address, was ordered to pay £1,000 in fines, £876 towards costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

Birmingham City Council prosecuted the business after environmental health officers visiting the Chinese takeaway restaurant on 21 July 2014, found an active cockroach infestation throughout the premises – posing an imminent risk to public health.  A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice (HEPN) was issued and the food business was formally closed on the same day.

The business stated it employed a pest control company to treat and control pests at the premises, but the officers found no evidence of this during their visit.

When officers returned to The Village Café on 23 July 2014, there was still an imminent risk to public health as cockroaches (both adult and young) were found in the kitchen, food preparation and wash-up areas.  A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order was granted by Birmingham Magistrates Court on that date for the business to remain closed.

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “People should be able to have confidence in the safety of the food served and cleanliness of any food business in Birmingham – regardless of whether it’s a takeaway or a posh restaurant.

“When officers found evidence of an active cockroach infestation throughout the kitchen at The Village Café on 21 July 2014, they closed it immediately on public health grounds.

“We want the city’s food businesses to thrive and as such our officers work closely with premises to ensure they achieve the necessary standards required to operate safely.”

Following the formal closure, the company signed a contract with a pest control firm to carry out treatment to control and eradicate cockroaches.

Officers allowed SMT Village Café Ltd to reopen its food business on 24 July 2014 after a second revisit, when they found the premises to be free of pests and that it had complied with actions listed in the HEPN issued on 21 July 2014.

The food business was last inspected on 3 March 2015, when it regained its Food Standards Agency rating of 3, which means it is generally satisfactory.


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