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Islington Council prosecutes Poundland for food hygiene breaches

Discount store Poundland has been fined for food hygiene breaches caused by a mouse infestation at one of its stores following an investigation by Islington Council environmental health team.

Islington environmental health officers conducted a food hygiene inspection at the shop in Seven Sisters Road, London, N7 6AX, in April 2014 following a complaint, Highbury Magistrates were told.

There was clear evidence of widespread mice activity throughout the premises with extensive mouse droppings on the food shelves and a distinct smell of rodent urine. Packaging was found to have been damaged by rodent activity to such an extent the food was spilling onto the shelves and floor.

In addition, there was clear evidence of poor cleaning procedures at low levels revealing a build-up of dirt, gnawed food and mouse faeces, which appeared to be congealed in mouse urine.

Due to the risk to public health, Poundland voluntarily closed the affected food aisles to remove the contaminated stock and disinfect the area.

However, subsequent food hygiene visits the following month and in August 2014 found similar offences and two hygiene improvement notices were served to ensure effective procedures were put into place to control pests. Environmental health officers also urged the implementation of preventative pest proofing which had been recommended by Poundland’s pest control contractor.
 
At the hearing, which took place on 11 June 2015, Poundland pleaded guilty to three offences:

• Failure to keep premises clean and maintained in good repair and condition;
• Failure to have adequate procedures in place to control pests;
• Failure to ensure food is protected from contamination.
 
Magistrates imposed fines totalling £9,750, a victim surcharge of £120 and ordered Poundland to pay costs of £2,590.
 
In sentencing, the chair of the bench said: “This matter is a very serious and very disturbing.”

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “We are determined that food businesses follow the basic cleanliness and hygiene standards required by law to help keep customers safe. Businesses failing in this duty will be held to account by the council and by the courts.”

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