Xpress Food UK Ltd has been fined £22,000 for breaching multiple hygiene regulations, following an investigation by health inspectors at the business’ premises at St Pauls Mill in Caroline Street in May 2018.
Inspectors described the factory as a “literal building site”, with construction work ongoing, tools left in the food production area and no appropriate hand-washing facilities available.
Bolton Magistrates Court heard that chicken kebabs were being made in an unclean environment, then placed in packaging displaying an invalid approval number.
The number was registered to Xpress Food’s previous address in Preston, which had approval withdrawn after it had been served a remedial action notice for hygiene violations.
Halt all food production
Xpress Food was served a remedial action notice for its Bolton site by the council and was ordered to halt all food production. All existing stock and raw ingredients were voluntarily surrendered and destroyed.
Owner Suleman Patel subsequently attempted to attain approval for the premises, but was refused due to noncompliance with infrastructure requirements.
Despite this, Xpress Food kebabs in invalid packaging were discovered in the freezer of a shop in Bolton in June 2018, which prompted the council to issue a detention notice to prevent new stock being removed from the factory. However, kebabs from the same batch were found to have been delivered to shops in Bolton the next day.
Following the hearing, Xpress Food was prosecuted for a number of offences, including: failure to keep the food premises clean and maintained in good repair and condition; and placing on the market food that was considered to be unsafe. A full list can be found in the box below.
Fined and ordered to pay costs
The manufacturer was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £6,592 in costs, together with a £170 victim surcharge.
Commenting on the case, Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for environmental regulatory services Anne Galloway accused the company of putting public safety at risk producing food in unacceptable conditions.
“Xpress Food moved to Bolton after its previous site had its approval withdrawn and this result shows that this council will not tolerate poor hygiene standards.
“Not only does this case serve as a deterrent to other firms that flout the law, but it is an excellent example of the hard work that goes into ensuring that the food that reaches our shops and restaurants is safe to eat.”
Xpress Food UK Ltd hygiene offences
- Failure to keep the food premises clean and maintained in good repair and condition
- Failure to provide an adequate number of wash hand basins with hot and cold running water, materials for cleaning hands and for hygienic drying
- Placing on the market food that is considered to be unsafe
- Failure to comply with a Remedial Action Notice