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£12,000 fine for rodent urine in food warehouse

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Matt Atherton

By Matt Atherton+

13-Sep-2017
Last updated on 13-Sep-2017 at 13:47 GMT2017-09-13T13:47:34Z

Pearl Food Distribution was ordered to pay more than £16,000 in total for the hygiene offences
Pearl Food Distribution was ordered to pay more than £16,000 in total for the hygiene offences

A food distribution firm has been fined £12,000 for food hygiene offences, after inspectors found rat and mouse urine and droppings in its warehouse.

Inspectors from Sandwell Council, West Midlands, also found rodent smear marks and nesting material at Pearl Food Distribution. Food and boxes had been “gnawed” through at the warehouse, and officers reported a strong smell of rodent urine, and a lack of cleaning at the site.

Pearl Food Distribution admitted seven food hygiene offences at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court on Thursday (September 7). The company was fined £12,000 for the offences, including failing to ensure adequate procedures were in place to control pests.

£16,599 in total

The court also ordered the company to pay the council’s costs of £4,429, and a victim surcharge of £170. Pearl Food Distribution was told to pay £16,599 in total.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection, 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.”

Rodent activity

Pearl Food Distribution’s warehouse was not adequately proofed to prevent rats and mice entering the premises, the court heard. Inspectors said that rodent activity had been going on for some time at the site.

The company has since relocated from its Oldbury location, on the Imex Industrial Estate on Union Road.

Meanwhile, a halal meat processor was fined £60,000 for failing to keep its meat at the correct temperature at its cutting plant and cold store, it was revealed today (September 11).

Rodent infestation at Pearl Food Distribution
  • Rat and mouse droppings, urine and smear marks in warehouse
  • Evidence of gnawed boxes and food
  • £12,000 fine

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