Middlesbrough Halal Cash & Carry, on Linthorpe Road, was visited on Tuesday, September 19, at which time evidence of a wide-spread mouse infestation, including mouse droppings throughout the premises and gnawed foods, together with poor standards of cleanliness, were found.
Using emergency enforcement powers, officers served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice that required the immediate closure of the business.
On Thursday, September 21, Middlesbrough Council was granted a Court Order at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, confirming that the closure of the business was necessary due to the health risks found and to keep the business closed until Environmental Health Officers are satisfied that the premises are pest-free and can be operated hygienically.
Head of Public Protection Judith Hedgley said: “The evidence of pest activity in this business was extensive, which highlights a serious lack of effective management over food safety.
“Pest activity in any food business creates a serious risk to health due to the harmful micro-organisations that pests, such as mice, can spread.
“Closing the business was therefore a necessary course of action to prevent the sale of contaminated food and food that was at risk of contamination.”
The Council will be monitoring the business and carrying out an investigation into the conditions found to determine if further enforcement action is to be taken.
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Health, Social Care and Public Health, said: “Environmental Health Officers routinely visit food businesses to give advice on maintaining good standards of hygiene and award a food hygiene rating after each inspection.
“This has helped drive up hygiene standards and recognise the efforts made by the vast majority of food businesses in Middlesbrough to protect consumer interests.
“It is a serious concern when officers find poor standards of hygiene, especially when a pest infestation exists. Officers will always seek to work in partnership with our local businesses but their duty to protect public safety comes first and they will not hesitate to use emergency powers when necessary.”