Director of company that supplies ready-to-eat foods found guilty of not complying with food hygiene standards
The director of a business has been fined after failing to comply with food hygiene regulations.
Chatha Fresh Food Limited, based in Cross Street, Bilston, had been trading under unhygienic conditions with evidence of mouse activity within part of the premises. Director Mandeep Singh was overlooking the operations of the national supplier of ready-to-eat foods.
The City of Wolverhampton Council’s environmental health officers, during their inspections, found an active mouse infestation during a routine inspection in April 2022.
They also found that food packaging and a walk-in chiller where food was being stored were contaminated with mice droppings. A live mouse was caught in a trap within the same walk-in chiller.
An emergency prohibition notice was issued and further checks were carried out.
Jane Sarginson, prosecuting on behalf of Wolverhampton City Council, said, “The inspection found clear and obvious evidence of mouse droppings on the floor and around the room.”
Sarginson, however, noted that Singh addressed a gap in the brickwork, although subsequent excrement, which was of a “less pronounced” nature, was discovered in a second refrigeration room and on an elevated mezzanine level.
She also mentioned that the excrement discovered on the mezzanine area during an inspection conducted in March 2023 had been effectively cleaned.
In mitigation, Stephen Jackson said, “The business was set up in 2019 and this incident happened in 2022.
“There is no evidence that this was wilful blindness on the part of the defendant or that he did not care.”
Jackson mentioned that an employee tasked with rodent inspections had departed shortly before the assessment and hadn’t been replaced. Nevertheless, a pest control contractor was retained for such purposes.
He added, “This was a purpose-built premises which was inspected annually.
“It is not possible to say what occurred to allow mice to get in the chiller. There is a possibility that the building fabric was affected by two burglaries including when the safe was taken.”
Mandeep Singh, director of Chatha Fresh Food Limited, pleaded guilty to 2 breaches of The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 for failing to:
have adequate procedures in place to control pests
protect food against contamination likely to render the food unfit for human consumption
The court fined Singh £667 and ordered him to pay full costs of £6638 and victim surcharge.
Councillor Craig Collingswood, cabinet member for environment and climate change at City of Wolverhampton Council, said, “Poor food hygiene can cause significant illnesses and this business owner has knowingly put his customers at risk.
“This shows a shocking lack of care and responsibility and I hope other businesses take note of the court’s judgement in this case.
“Our environmental health officers work very hard to protect residents and consumers and I hope this sends out a strong message to food businesses that we take food hygiene very seriously in Wolverhampton.”