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Food warehouse fined £12,000 over serious rodent infestation

Published 11th September 2017

Gnawed flour sack at pearl Food Distribution

An Oldbury food warehouse where hygiene inspectors discovered rat and mouse droppings and gnawed food has been fined £12,000.

Pearl Food Distribution Limited was found to have a “serious rodent infestation” when Sandwell Council inspectors visited in April 2016.

They discovered rat and mouse droppings, gnawed food, urine, nesting material and smear marks throughout the warehouse.

The company, which was based on the Imex Industrial Estate in Union Road at the time, admitted seven food hygiene offences at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court on Thursday (7 September). The business has since relocated.

The court heard that the building was not adequately proofed to prevent the entry of pests and that the rodent activity had been going on for some time. Officers reported a strong smell of rodent urine in the premises and a lack of cleaning throughout.

District Judge Wheeler sentenced the company based on the lead offence relating to the company’s failure to ensure that adequate procedures were in place to control pests. He said the £12,000 fine reflected the risk posed by the totality of the seven offences.

The court also ordered the company to pay the council’s costs of £4,429 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection Councillor Elaine Costigan said: “Sandwell Council takes food hygiene matters very seriously and whilst we do work to support food businesses, in this instance, officers had no alternative but to take enforcement action because of the imminent risk of heath to the public.

“We welcome this sentence and hope that it acts as a deterrent to other food businesses that do not manage their businesses in compliance with the law.”