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Supermarket fined £15,000 after mice found in food boxes

PUBLISHED: 09:56 24 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:59 05 October 2010

SUPERMARKET store Somerfield has been fined £15,000 for breaches of food hygiene. Judge Peter Birts heard that a customer at the Chrisp Street store in Poplar had alerted staff to boxes which appeared to be gnawed by rodents, as well as the smell of urine

SUPERMARKET store Somerfield has been fined £15,000 for breaches of food hygiene.

Judge Peter Birts heard that a customer at the Chrisp Street store in Poplar had alerted staff to boxes which appeared to be gnawed by rodents, as well as the smell of urine and rodent footprints.

The customer contacted Somerfield head office by email and then called Tower Hamlets foods safety team who discovered mouse droppings and families of mice in boxes of food.

Barrister Geoffrey Stephenson told the judge at Snaresbrook Crown Court that Somerfield is 'mortified' by what happened and that it spends an estimated £1.2 million on pest control at its 900 stores every year.

He said the stock control system and 'daily simply' ready checks had broken down and reports from the external pest control company had not flagged up the infestation of mice.

He said the company carried out an intensive clean as soon as Tower Hamlets experts visited and added that the deep clean had in fact been ordered to go ahead on the Sunday before their visit, but it did not.

In sentencing Judge Birts QC said he estimated there had been an infestation of mice for at least three weeks.

He fined the company £5,000 each on three charges food hygiene and failure to carry out pest control procedures which it admitted, with £2,249.41 costs.


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