Halal meat firm to pay £7,500 after mouse infestation

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mouse droppings were found in Green Mountain Food Store
Mouse droppings were found in Green Mountain Food Store

Related tags: Liverpool

The owner of a halal butchery business has been ordered to pay more than £7,500 for nine food safety breaches, after mouse droppings were found in a meat display and walk-in fridge.

Liverpool-based Green Mountain Food Store owner and butcher Shafeq Nasser Al-Suraimi was fined £3,600 on January 16, after pleading guilty to the offences at Liverpool & Knowsley Magistrates Court.  Al-Suraimi was also ordered to pay £4,017.34 in costs to the council, and a £40 victim surcharge.

A council spokesman said: “This is a shocking example of a severe breach of food safety standards which could have resulted in customers being very ill.

“We will not tolerate food businesses operating in this manner and the seriousness of this charge is reflected in the considerable fine levelled at the owner,” ​said cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, Liverpool Steve Munby.

Mouse droppings

Mouse droppings were found in the butchery department of the store, on a counter and shelves, as well as between floor and skirting boards, during an unannounced routine inspection on November 4 2015. Mice were thought to accessing the store through large holes in the walk-in fridge.

Equipment used to butcher meat was dirty and blood was found on the door handle of the walk-in fridge, the inspection also found. Rodent “smear marks”​ were found on skirting boards, floor and wall coverings, which were in a poor structural condition.

Green Mountain Food Store1 (1)

Green Mountain Food Store2

The store was immediately closed following the inspection, due to “imminent risks to public health”​.

Green Mountain Food Store remained in the same, poor condition nine days later, according to a follow-up inspection. No cleaning had been undertaken, and pest infestation remained “obvious”​, Liverpool City Council said.

Deep-clean needed urgently

The follow-up inspection also found a report from a pest control firm, advising Al-Suraimi that a deep-clean of the store was needed urgently. Pest-proofing, stock control and daily checks for pests were also needed, the report said.

A full refurbishment of the store took place after the follow-up inspection. An environmental health team were satisfied that there was no longer a risk to public health on April 12 2016.

Munby said: “Our environmental health team do incredible work across the city so that residents and visitors can, rightly so, expect the highest possible standards when they visit any food outlet.”

The Al-Suraimi prosecution was the latest in a series of  offences for health and safety, as the box below reveals.

Recent food safety offences – at a glance

  • Food supplier Pioneer Foods​ was fined £275,000 earlier this month after selling listeria-contaminated meat, and 10 other food offences
  • Patisserie Holdings​ was fined £60,000 for a mouse infestation in November
  • Al-Ummah Halal Poultry Limited​ pleaded guilty to 11 food safety offences in November, including failure to remove viscera from poultry carcasses. It was fined £22,000

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