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Food business fined for hygiene offences

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A mini-market in Coseley was shut down after evidence of mice was found during a visit by Dudley Council environmental health officers, a court heard.

Wallbrook Mini Market was ordered to close following the visit in December 2020, and not allowed to re-open until officers were satisfied the pest problem had been eradicated.

Guilty pleas to food hygiene offences were entered on behalf of the business operating the convenience store, JJS Mann Retail Ltd, and its sole director, Joanne Mann, at Dudley Magistrates Court on Thursday. (Mar 30)

The business was ordered to pay £3,100 in fines, court costs and victim surcharges and Mrs Mann £2,540.

The court heard that during their inspection, officers discovered mouse droppings in several locations within the shop in Wallbrook Street.

The premises were also found to be in a poor state of structural repair and there was no food safety management system in place.

The shop was allowed to re-open once environmental health officers were satisfied the pest problem had been resolved and adequate cleaning and disinfection had been carried out, the court was told.

Officers carried out a follow-up visit to the shop a couple of months after the closure early last year and were satisfied that the improved standards were being maintained.

Dudley Council environmental health officers carry out regular inspections of all food premises in the borough to advise proprietors and ensure they are meeting all food safety and hygiene requirements.

The hygiene standards found at the time of inspection are then rated on a scale. At the bottom of the scale is zero which means urgent improvement is required. At the top of the scale is five, meaning the hygiene standards are very good.

Kevin O’Keefe, chief executive, said:

This prosecution sends out a clear message that the council will not tolerate poor conditions in food businesses.
We work closely with businesses providing help and advice on food hygiene law when we can.
However, in certain cases, closing food businesses - and prosecuting them if necessary - is the only option to ensure people are protected when buying food in the Dudley borough.
Approximately 90 per cent of food businesses in the borough achieve a satisfactory rating of 3 or more, indicating them to be broadly compliant.
I would urge consumers to check out hygiene ratings online as these will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they shop.

Ratings in Dudley can be viewed online at www.dudley.gov.uk/foodsafety or at www.food.gov.uk/ratings 

Consumers are also advised to look out for the food hygiene rating sticker when they visit any food business.

Help and advice for businesses about complying with the law is also available online on the council’s website at www.dudley.gov.uk

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