When Environmental Health Officers from Middlesbrough Council’s Public Protection Service visited Pizza Pizza in Parliament Road on December 15 last year, they found poor standards of cleanliness, evidence of a widespread mouse infestation and serious risk of contamination to food.
The operator of the business Mrs Huda Karim voluntarily closed the takeaway until effective pest treatment and prevention measures had been carried out and the premises thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s Head of Public Protection, said: “Environmental Health Officers make regular visits to restaurants, takeaways and other food outlets in Middlesbrough to check hygiene and food safety practices.
“Mouse activity in a food business is usually very easy to spot.
“It is good hygiene practice to carry out daily hygiene checks to ensure food rooms and equipment are free from pests and are clean and hygienic.
“Reducing the risk of pests getting into food rooms requires proper maintenance of the premises, adopting suitable pest proofing measures and maintaining good standards of cleanliness.
“The presence of mouse droppings at the Pizza Pizza takeaway highlighted inadequate management of hygiene which may have resulted in food becoming contaminated and unsafe food being served.”
Appearing before Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, October 3, Huda Karim pleaded guilty to three offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 – failing to ensure adequate procedures in place to control pests, failing to keep the premises clean and failing to ensure food was protected from contamination
She was fined £195 and ordered to pay £775 towards the Council’s costs, plus a £30 victim surcharge.
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “The Council’s Environmental Health Officers will always take prompt action to protect consumer safety if they discover substandard conditions in any local food business.
“The Council’s first approach to securing food hygiene standards is to work with businesses - however, where there are serious breaches of the food hygiene rules then legal action will always be considered.”