Hayes cash and carry store fined £66,000 after serious rat infestation
Wednesday 11 October, 2023: A store specialising in imported foods has been fined after breaching hygiene conditions and causing unnecessary suffering to animals, following a rat infestation.
Company director, Santhirasegaram Ketheeswaran, had admitted five breaches of food hygiene regulations, causing unnecessary suffering to rodents and failing to comply with a health and safety improvement notice when he represented Asian African Foods Ltd at the same court, on Tuesday 22 August.
The court was told the council's food and health and safety team made an unannounced visit to the food business on the Uxbridge Road, on 9 June 2022, following complaints from customers regarding the unhygienic storage of food.
The council's team discovered very poor levels of cleanliness throughout, with dirt, food debris, flies, rat droppings and the structure was in such a state of disrepair that multiple holes allowed rats to freely enter the business.
The court heard the inspectors found a dead rat beneath a pallet of rice bags and in the rear stock room an emaciated rat was found barely alive while stuck to a glueboard, next to another dead rat, indicating the boards were not being checked regularly.
Electrical sockets behind freezers were hanging off the wall.
Conditions were so appalling that the business was voluntarily closed for cleaning and repair, but when inspectors returned the next day they also found a fridge that had no power, and resulted in the disposal of 36kg of decaying and rotten fish, the court was told.
The court heard Krishna Cash & Carry had a history of pest infestations with pest control records showing evidence of rats being treated previously in February, March, April (twice) and May of 2022.
Cllr Eddie Lavery, Cabinet Member for Residents' Services, said: "While the council is committed to creating a borough where residents feel safe and can live healthy lives, this horrifying case serves to show not everyone has the same duty of care.
"For a business serving the public to willingly allow the conditions to deteriorate to such an extent and then failing to check their method of pest control is difficult to comprehend.
"I thank our food and health and safety team for their diligence in following up residents' complaints and ensuring this business was quickly brought into line through a strong prosecution and very significant fine.
For the five hygiene offences, relating to pest control, food storage and cleanliness, Asian African Foods Ltd were fined £60,000 (£12,000 on each count). For the animal welfare offence, there was an additional fine of £5,000.
For failing to comply with the terms of the health & safety improvement notice there was a further fine of £1,000.
Asian African Foods Ltd were also ordered to pay the council's costs of £11,296.75 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £190.