Visiting a food shop is something that we do on a regular basis. Be it for buying groceries or grabbing a quick meal on your way to work, it’s an activity that we possibly cannot escape. While we usually don’t pay much heed to the things that we buy from a food shop, have you ever wondered if they’re stored following proper hygiene protocols? Maintaining high standards of hygiene at food shops is essential. It helps prevent the spread of various food borne illnesses and diseases. Recently, a UK shop was fined over 26,000 pounds after rats were caught eating the food on display.
According to Metro News, many rodents were discovered scurrying around the displayed food in a UK shop. The owner of the shop was ordered to pay a fine of 26,899 pounds after a repeat rodent infestation. The report further states that the incident (of rodent attack in the shop) was first reported in 2019 when environmental health officers from Waltham Forest Council came for an inspection. The officers found food spills, rat droppings and, and gnawed food packaging all over the shop.
Following the inspection, the officers gave the shop a food hygiene rating of one out of five and informed the company director, Mr. Ehsan Sherzad, in writing that the conditions were unhygienic. The shop owner skipped several hearings, and the case was eventually heard in absence on January 31, 2023.
After the hearing, his company was ordered to pay a fine of 25,000 pounds, costs of 1,709 pounds, and a victim surcharge of 190 pounds. “An ongoing rat infestation was found on the premises, including food on display for sale that had been eaten by rats,” council officers told the court. Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Waltham Forest Council, said, “The sizeable financial penalty in this case should go some way towards illustrating the extent of the offences and the failure of Mr Sherzad to heed repeated warnings.”
He further added, “While Waltham Forest Council always works with food service operators to improve their hygiene ratings, we will come down as hard as possible on those who so brazenly disregard their public health obligations.”
The Waltham Forest Council confirmed that the shop has since shut down, after it was listed as permanently closed on Google.