A popular Birmingham restaurant pleaded guilty to eight offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (4 February 2016).
The Chameleon, at 1 Hill Street, Birmingham, was ordered to pay a total of £7,174.25 – including a £5,400 fine and £1,774.25 towards costs.
Birmingham City Council prosecuted Suitable Ventures Limited, which operates restaurant and bar, after environmental health officers who visited the premises several times in December 2014 and January 2015 found evidence of mouse activity throughout the premises.
After the first visit on 11 December 2014, a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served on the premises, formally closing it, as there was deemed to be an imminent risk to public health.
Officers visited The Chameleon twice on 12 December 2014, and after the second visit officers found the risk to public health had been removed, and the restaurant was allowed to reopen to the public.
A month later, on 8 January 2015, during a follow-up visit, officers found evidence that mice had returned to the premises and food which was at risk of contamination. In addition, they found no evidence of a documented food safety management system, to ensure effective controls were in place for the safe preparation of food.
As a result of this mouse infestation, another Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served and the premises were formally closed. Officers returned to the restaurant on 9 and 10 January 2015 – after the second visit officers were satisfied remedial works had been completed and the imminent risk to public health had been removed, so the business was allowed to reopen on 10 January 2015.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Officers inspecting The Chameleon, on Hill Street, on two separate visits found mouse droppings throughout the premises as well as dirty conditions in the kitchen and food at risk of contamination.
“The restaurant’s owners managed to rectify the issues identified by our officers, by bringing in pest control and conducting a thorough deep-clean of the premises.
“The Chameleon is a very popular destination for diners, who would not expect the cleanliness of the kitchen to be questioned, but this case shows even the most reputable or popular restaurants can have sub-standard practices.”
The Chameleon had an existing a pest control contract, but following these incidents, it has reviewed that contract and employed a new contractor. The restaurant also conducts its own in-house checks.
Following a routine, unannounced inspection on 5 March 2015 by environmental health officers, The Chameleon was given Food Hygiene Rating of 4 (out a maximum of 5), which rates the premises as good.
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