Banbury takeaway restaurant prosecuted for rodent infestation

A Banbury takeaway where a mouse infestation was discovered has pleaded guilty to a series of serious food hygiene offences.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 5:46 pm
A Banbury takeaway where a mouse infestation was discovered has pleaded guilty to a series of serious food hygiene offences. (Image from Cherwell District Council)

A hearing at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court held yesterday (Wednesday March 10) found Mr Rice Chinese Takeaway Ltd, of Broad Street in Banbury, guilty of three offences.

The offences he was found guilty of under the Food Safety Act 1990, included: failing to ensure food was protected against contamination; failing to keep the premises clean and in good repair and condition; and failing to ensure that food handlers were supervised and instructed.

As a result of being found guilty a member of management will have to pay £700 in costs, a £300 fine, and a £32 victim surcharge.

Image taken from the health inspection undertaken by officials with Cherwell District Council at the Banbury takeaway (Image from Cherwell District Council)

The takeaway is still open and trading after it made adjustments and changes. It now has a better food rating.

The breaches date back to September 2019, when an inspection by Cherwell District Council revealed that food was being stored and prepared in areas contaminated by mouse droppings. The council also prosecuted the establishment for failing to train its staff in proper food hygiene practices.

The unannounced inspection in autumn 2019 came as a result of a complaint made regarding a dead rat found on the pavement outside the premises. The inspection report shows officials found evidence of mouse droppings in a storage cupboard under the stairs, in two other storage rooms and in the kitchen.

Cllr Andrew McHugh, lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “Local people want to know that if they order food for takeaway or home delivery, it has been safely and hygienically prepared.

“To provide that confidence, we need to be making sure businesses have the information they need to follow the law and to be carrying out enforcement if they fall short. The gravity of these offences and the sheer level of pest activity meant that it was vital for us to take this case to court.

“I am pleased to hear that the officer intervention has been effective, and that the restaurant has now made improvements.”

Following the visit in question, Mr Rice had its food hygiene rating rescored from 3 to 0, and voluntarily closed for a deep clean. The council then made a further unannounced visit to the restaurant. This found that conditions had improved at the restaurant, meaning officers were able to give it a rating of 4.

Cllr McHugh added: “We know that the hospitality trade has been hit hard by the pandemic, but for businesses to bounce back in the future it is important that consumers know hygiene standards have not been allowed to slide.”

The food hygiene scores for outlets across the district are online at ratings.food.gov.uk