Bakery fined and temporarily shut down after mouse infestation

Credit: Rushcliffe Borough Council

Following an investigation revealing a severe mouse infestation throughout its premises, including food storage and production areas, a bakery in Rushcliffe was temporarily shut down and faced a bill exceeding £21,000.

Belvoir Bakery, operating under Vale Bakery on Langar Road in Barnstone, was discovered to have a severe and ongoing mouse infestation issue, resulting in contamination of various food-related items, equipment, and surfaces, leading to unsanitary conditions on the premises.

At Nottingham Magistrates Court on March 26, it was revealed that despite being aware of the pest problem, the bakery failed to take appropriate measures to prevent mice from accessing food storage and production areas, maintain cleanliness, safeguard food from contamination, and ensure public safety.

Following complaints received by Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Environmental Health Team, the premises were inspected in September 2022.

Evidence of the infestation included a deceased mouse, mouse droppings and urine, damaged food packaging, nesting materials, and contaminated food ingredients.

The court learned that the bakery lacked proper procedures to mitigate the risk of contamination by pests, with the premises visibly unclean and cleaning standards falling below par.

Due to the infestation posing an imminent health risk, Environmental Health Officers took emergency action to close the business and seized condemned food items.

After implementing hygiene improvement measures, the bakery received a food hygiene rating of 4 upon reopening, following its initial zero rating.

Vale Bakery Ltd pleaded guilty to seven charges of breaching The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

The company was fined £1,600 and ordered to pay £19,395 in costs, along with a victim surcharge of £640, totalling £21,635.

Rushcliffe Borough Council’s deputy chief executive and director of neighbourhoods, Dave Banks said: “This case showed a total disregard for the bakery’s customers and the wider public’s health as the owners were so brazen and did not take the correct measures to avoid pests entering the premises or containing them.

“The conditions of the bakery were frankly awful and we were left with no option but to close it with immediate effect, it’s sadly among the worst cases our officers can recall investigating.

“The court bill sends a very strong and simple message to all food business owners that good compliance makes good business sense and if you place the health of others in jeopardy we will take strong action through the legal channels wherever possible.”