Dudley grocer lands £19,000 bill for rat infested shop

A Dudley shopkeeper whose shop was infested with rats has landed a £19,000 court bill.

Ejaz Ahmed, aged 43, was found guilty of eight offences at Best Price Mini Market, Ivanhoe Street. It included failing to keep the premises clean and not doing enough to protect against rats.

Dudley Magistrates heard how environmental health officers inspected the premises in March last year. They found a rat infestation and immediately closed the premises using emergency closure powers, subsequently backed by a court order, which forced the closure of the business for 10 days whilst the pest problem was dealt with properly.

The offences included failing to keep food premises clean and in good repair, failing to have adequate food safety procedures in place, failing to ensure that the premises were adequately protected against access by pests, failing to protect food from a risk of contamination and failing to provide materials to cleanse or hygienically dry hands at washbasins in the toilets and butchery area.

In addition, adequate procedures were not in place to control pests, the premises had neither adequate natural or artificial lighting in the lobby area or walk in chiller and food handlers were not adequately trained. The court fined Mr Ahmed £16,000 along with £2,665 costs as well as a £170 victim surcharge. Councillor Peter Miller, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:

“The public have a right to expect that the shops from which they purchase their food do not put their health at risk. A pest infestation in a food business can pose a serious risk to health and it was therefore necessary to prevent this business operating whilst remedial works were undertaken. 

“Over half of all food outlets in the borough are achieving the top hygiene rating of five and the vast majority achieve a satisfactory rating of three or more. I would urge consumers to check out hygiene ratings online as these will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they shop.”

Dudley Council environmental health officers carry out regular inspections of food premises in the borough to advise food business owners and ensure they meet all food safety and hygiene requirements.

Ratings in Dudley can be viewed online at dudley.gov.uk/foodsafety


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