Mice droppings found in Belfast food shop

Food safety inspectors have confirmed mice droppings and bread for sale, which had been gnawed by rodents, were both found at an Iceland store in west Belfast.

Belfast City Council staff carried out an inspection of the premises on 19 September, 2008 which uncovered "a number of serious breaches of food hygiene legislation.

"Officers observed mouse droppings on and under shelving, and bread which was displayed for sale had been gnawed by mice."

The store was fined £400 plus £66 costs after the inspection.

In a statement, Iceland Foods Limited claimed it "was not charged for or fined for any pest-related issues".

But the council said the firm had been fined for "food safety offences."

Emirates chef fined $27,000 for expired (by 1 day) yoghurt

Before the widespread use of refrigeration, fresh milk was often fermented into yoghurt, chesse and other dairy products for long-term storage.

So in what seems an excessively harsh penalty, if true, a British chef at a restaurant in the Emirates Palace hotel is appealing his U.S. $27,000 fine after inspectors from Abu Dhabi Municipality found the yoghurt during a routine visit to the kitchen of the Etoiles restaurant and lounge about a month ago. ??????

The head chef, identified as PH, was convicted and ordered to pay Dh70,000 for not educating his staff on the emirate’s food expiration laws and Dh20,000 for storing expired food. He also had to pay another Dh2,000 for the municipality’s fees.

PH appealed the court sentence in the past few weeks, and the case was referred to the Criminal Court of Appeal, where it was heard yesterday. ??????His attorney said the food was only one day past its use-by date; court documents do not specify when the food expired.

UK: Dead mouse in loaf of bread

North Antrim Magistrates Court heard how a man purchased a Hyndman’s malt loaf from a supermarket in the Ballymoney area before Christmas 2007.

When he unwrapped the loaf he discovered the small lifeless mammal embedded in the base of the bread (right, photo from BBC).

The judge fined the company, D Hyndman and Son Ltd, Maghera, £1,000 plus costs for placing unsafe food on the market. …

The defence lawyer said an "onerous inspection" is held at the bakery every six weeks and that two field biologists attend each year. There are 131 bait stations in the premises at present, he said.

Bad idea: running a restaurant without water, people get sick, owners fined $15,000

Two co-owners of the Yaman Restaurant, a St. Catharines, Ontario, restaurant linked to a 2007 E. coli outbreak, were fined $7,500 each for selling food that made customers sick.

The problems started when Asaad and Daoud continued to run their business on May 19, 2007, despite the fact water to the restaurant was cut off due to a water-main break.

The restaurant was shut down by the region that month after several people got sick, but reopened with a clean bill of health in August that year.

The owners also pleaded guilty on March 4 to failing to provide hot and cold running water in the food-preparation area of the restaurant.

190 kinds of rotting food found at pub

Environmental health officials found 190 items of "mouldy, slimy, putrescent or expired foodstuffs" and immediately closed the Rose and Crown pub in Thaxted, Essex, U.K. after a surprise inspection on Dec. 9, 2008.

Work surfaces and utensils were smothered in thick grease, floors littered with rotting detritus and fridges covered in mould and dozens of dirty food containers (right, photo from The Telegraph).

The kitchen did not even have any running hot running water meaning staff could not wash up or clean their hands properly.

Inspectors found the owner was still preparing food in the rancid conditions.

The owner of the pub, Nicholas Marchetto, pleaded guilty to 23 food and hygiene offences at Harlow Magistrates’ Court.

He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay another £1,000 towards the council’s costs.

136 hospitalized; Australian bakery fined $40,000

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Sydney bakery responsible for a food poisoning outbreak that affected 319 people, of whom 136 were admitted to hospital, has been fined more than $40,000 for breaches of the Food Act.

The NSW Food Authority closed French Golden Hot Bread, in Homebush West, in March last year after tracing a salmonella outbreak to the egg mayonnaise served with its pork and chicken rolls.

Contrary to government regulations, the egg mixture was not heat-treated or kept below the specified 5 degrees.

A faulty refrigerator was also blamed for the elevated temperature of the mayonnaise, which allowed the bacteria to develop.

The Herald also reports this morning that more than half the local councils in New South Wales, the Australian state that contains, Sydney, have not fined any food businesses caught breaking food safety laws in the past four years, raising fears that much of the state has no effective protection against food poisoning from unhygienic restaurants and cafes.

Figures provided by the Office of State Revenue, which collects payments for fines imposed by councils, show that since 2004 only 67 out of more than 150 councils imposed any fines on restaurants and takeaway food businesses flouting hygiene laws.

"If you never issue a fine, they will laugh at you," said Des Sibraa, a former chief food inspector for NSW and now a food safety consultant.

He said the only conclusion to be drawn from the fact so many councils did not issue any fines was that many of them did not have serious inspection regimes.
"There is a place for warnings, but only for any minor matters, not for anything serious … Some councils are not doing anything," Mr Sibraa said.

Australian sushi business fined over rats

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court fined Sushi World’s Camperdown premises more than $60,000 after it heard the business was closed by the New South Wales Food Authority after an inspection in November 2006 revealed it was a "risk to public health.”

Inspectors who toured the premises found rat faeces scattered over the floor, on equipment and in food-processing areas. Two 12.5-kilogram bags of flour had been "gnawed open by rodents" and one of the creatures was seen in the food storage area, the court heard.

The NSW Chief Industrial Magistrate, George Miller, said Sushi World’s failure to adhere to parts of the food standards code indicated "serious shortfalls in basic food handling", and the company’s continued breaches from November 2006 to May 2007 suggested a "disturbing willingness to run a food business without regard for basic hygiene standards".

During the hearing its director, Suk Joon Song, said trade decreased by 50 per cent due to negative publicity after the charges had been made public.

Sushi World no longer operates from the Camperdown premises but has opened a factory in Meadowbank, which has been approved by the NSW Food Authority.

We haven’t had a problem for 22 years so why train staff?

The Manchester Evening News reports that in June 2006, eight people who dined at Fu’s restaurant on Manchester Road, Mossley, U.K., suffered food poisoning and contacted Tameside Council environmental health department. Eventually, 12 complaints of salmonella were reported.

Environmental health officers visited, and found cooked duck stored in cardboard boxes where raw poultry had been, dirty chopping boards and no cleaning or drying equipment for the hand basin near the staff toilets.

Directors of the Cantonese restaurant pleaded guilty to eight offences under food hygiene laws at Tameside magistrates’ court Dec. 28/07, and were fined £14,000.

A major shareholder was cited as saying he didn’t ensure staff had sufficient hygiene training because he had been trading 22 years without a problem.