“Mouse market” boss pleads guilty

By on 04/06/2010 in News

A businessman whose convenience store was found to be selling packets of food that had been gnawed open and nibbled by mice has today pleaded guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court.

A gnawed box of chocolate eggs

A gnawed box of chocolate eggs

Mr Naeem Raza (48), Company Secretary of  Cityway Ltd, owner of the Lifestyle Express shop, pleaded guilty to three offences under the food hygiene (England) regulations 2006 for; failing to keep the premises clean, failing to ensure the food was protected form contamination likely to render it unfit for human consumption and failing to have suitable procedures in place.

The case has now been adjourned for sentencing.

Environmental Health Officers from Birmingham City Council undertook a routine inspection of the Lifestyle Express shop on Moseley Road, Balsall Heath, on 9th June 2009. They found that the premises were very dirty, with extensive mouse activity.

Gnawed packet of red peanuts

Gnawed packet of red peanuts

Mouse droppings were found throughout the premises, including on shelving on the shop floor displaying goods for sale to the public, and in boxes of food. Peanuts, flaked almonds and a box of chocolate eggs were also found to have been gnawed by mice.

The conditions were so bad that they posed an imminent risk of injury to health and a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served to immediately close the premises.

A revisit from council Environmental Health Officers two days later revealed fresh droppings and freshly gnawed food and a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order was obtained from the Magistrates Court to keep the premises closed.

Following a further visit on 15th June 2009, the premises were allowed to reopen when officers were satisfied that the imminent risk of injury to health had been removed following thorough cleaning, pest proofing work and the eradication of the mouse infestation.

Councillor Neil Eustace, Chair of the Public Protection Committee at Birmingham City Council, said:

“A supermarket should be providing food for customers, not for mice.

“This is another case which highlights the vigilance of Environmental Health Officers, and our determination to keep the public safe from health hazards.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007 hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

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