A popular Birmingham fast food restaurant was ordered to pay £13,389 after it pleaded guilty to four offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (7 January 2016).
Caspian Food Services Ltd, based at The Cedars, 2 High Street, Bagshot, in Surrey, which operates Burger King in the Bullring, was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £1,389 towards costs.
Birmingham City Council prosecuted Caspian Food Services Ltd, which pleaded guilty to offences on 10 December 2015, after environmental health officers found evidence of mouse activity throughout the premises during a planned inspection on 2 February 2015.
Officers found mouse droppings in the food preparation and storage areas, as well as evidence of inadequate cleaning and food exposed to risk of contamination.
A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice (HEPN), schedule of works and an application for a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order (HEPO) were issued and the premises was closed on 2 February 2015 as there was deemed to be an imminent risk to public health.
When officers returned to Burger King on 4 February 2015 some pest proofing works were still outstanding and mouse droppings were found in the front food preparation area, so the business was not allowed to reopen and an HEPO was granted by Birmingham Magistrates Court.
Later that day officers were called back to the restaurant, at the company’s request, to reinspect the premises. Pest proofing works had been completed satisfactorily and the business was allowed to reopen.
Caspian Food Services Ltd already had a pest control contract in place for Burger King’s Bullring premises prior to the inspection on 2 February 2015, however since then it has increased the number of visits made by their contractor.
A further planned, unannounced inspection was carried out on 30 June 2015 by environmental health officers, after which Burger King was given Food Hygiene Rating of 5 (the maximum score), which rates the premises as very good.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Officers inspecting Burger King, in the Bullring, on 2 February 2015 found mouse droppings in food preparation and storage areas as well as inadequate cleaning and food at risk of contamination.
“High risk and ready-to-eat foods were processed and cooked in areas which were dirty and where mouse droppings were found, and therefore were at risk from being contaminated.
“While Caspian Food Services Ltd managed to rectify the issues identified by our officers – and has since achieved the top food hygiene rating of 5 – this shows that even the most reputable or popular restaurants can have sub-standard practices.
“All food businesses in Birmingham are included in a regular inspection programme which is designed to ensure they all operate to a good standard, and firms that don’t comply with these strict standards will be prosecuted.”
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