Wednesday 9 November 2016

Asda has been fined over poor quality pest control


Hight street supermarket chain Asda has been fined £664,000 after an in-store bakery had to be closed for ten days because of a potentially fatal mouse infestation.

In one year the supermarket giant's own pest controllers visited the store 72 times because of the plague of vermin.

But after a customer ate cheese rolls covered in mouse droppings local environmental health officers and the chain closed the bakery for 10 days in September last year.

Mouse poo was found in bags of flour, food packaging, trolley's used for bread and production area inside the filthy bakery at the Park Royal branch, west London

A frozen mouse was found in the entrance to the walk in-freezer and staff had left traps and bait boxes strewn across the floor, Uxbridge Magistrates Court heard.

Asda admitted four charges of breaching the Food Safety Act, including failing to keep the premises clean, failing to ensure adequate procedures are in place to control pests, placing unfit food on the market and construction of premises which failed to control pests.

A month after the closure public analyst Jeremy Wooten inspected the bakery and concluded that the rolls bought by customer Mike Draycott, 58, were contaminated when they were placed on top of the mouse droppings.

Outside court planning engineer, Mr Draycott, of Wigan, who was awarded £500, said: 'These bread rolls could have killed me and it was by the grace of God that they didn't.

'After eating the roll last year I had a flu like episode for about four days and the suffered six months of stress because I read up on the Internet what sort of diseases I could catch from eating raw faeces. '

Judge Barbara Wright said: 'Members of the public going into Asda trust that the bread they are going to buy will be clean and safe to consume.

'In any view there was a very serious infestation. On September 11 2015 it was immediately concluded that the bakery should be closed and it was not safe.

'The elderly and the vulnerable could die if they came into contact with the bread.

'The management concluded that there was such great risk that they shut the bakery down. It was a matter of common sense.

'On the 11 September local authority officers visited unannounced and all items produced in the bakery were removed.'

Describing the infestation Judge Wright added: 'You have a bakery with bags of flour with mice droppings in them.

'These rolls were absolutely encrusted with mice faeces. Mice urinate 3,000 times a day – these rolls were poisonous.

'Whoever placed the cheese buns purchased on 9 September and subsequently put them on the supermarket shelves could not have failed to notice.

'The contamination of the flour bags and food packaging as well as food storage areas must have been known about by staff.

There was a dead mouse in the doorway to the freezer. It was not concealed or hidden in anyway.'

The court heard that in 2013 a warning notice had been given when birds got into the bakery.

Asda's own pest controllers had repeatedly visited the store but most of their recommendations were ignored.

Since the infestation, the store has increased the amount of cleaning the store undergoes every week. They also spent £80,000 on a refit and deep clean.

The supermarket was fined £664,000 and have been ordered to pay £500 compensation, costs of £7,599 and a statutory surcharge of £120.



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