A forecourt operator has accused her local council of being heavy handed after it prosecuted her company for hygiene failings at the site.
Rozina Limited, which operates the Jet Service Station on Ely Road, Witcham Toll, pleaded guilty to two breaches of food hygiene regulations at Cambridge Magistrates, and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs for breaching food hygiene regulations.
The case followed a customer complaint which was investigated by the Environmental Health Team at East Cambridgeshire District Council.
The council claimed a number of food safety contraventions were discovered including:
• Placing food on the market that was unsafe - namely crisps, confectionary and peanuts due to contamination with mouse droppings and urine
• Failure to ensure that adequate procedures were in place to control pests
• Failure to keep a food premises clean
• Failure of the design and construction of food premises to permit good food hygiene practices
Rozina Hafiz, a director of the company, said environmental health officers visited on December 18, 2013, and February 2, 2014, and after action was taken they were allowed to recommence selling food in early April.
She thought the situation had been resolved and was surprised when in December last year she was informed she would be prosecuted. She said out of 14 original charges 12 were dropped and she only pleaded guilty to the other two because she could not afford the time to defend them.
Liz Knox, environmental services manager at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “This successful prosecution came about as a result of a customer complaint that the shop had mice. On inspection, our officers found evidence of an uncontrolled mice infestation. They found food which was contaminated by mice which was on sale to the general public - for example, they discovered crisp and peanut packets which had been gnawed and surrounded by mice droppings.
“Anyone running a shop where food is being sold has a responsibility to the public to ensure their hygiene levels are the best they can be. Clearly this was not the case at this establishment. Taking this legal action is always a last resort but we are determined to protect public safety and ensure standards are kept high across the district.”