Daniel Woolfson of The Morning Advertiser reports that Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) was slapped with a £100,000 fine after environmental health officers uncovered an infestation of mice at one of its Birmingham pubs.
The company, which owns the Harvester and Toby Carvery, pleaded guilty to three food safety offences at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (19 August) after inspectors discovered rodent droppings and unhygienic kitchen conditions at the Railway, Hill Street.
It was ordered to pay £105,000 as well as £9,528 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
Councillor Barbara Dring, Birmingham City Council’s licensing and public protection committee chair, said: “People should be able to have confidence in the safety of the food served and cleanliness of any food business in Birmingham – regardless of whether it’s a pub or a posh restaurant.
“We want the city’s food businesses to thrive and, as such, our officers work closely with premises to ensure they achieve the necessary standards required to operate safely.”
The Railway’s kitchen was ordered to close on the spot after the inspection on February 18 last year but was allowed to reopen two days later when inspectors returned and found improvements to have been made.
Since then it has gone on to achieve a five-star food hygiene rating.
Earlier this summer M&B admitted a breach of duty to 280 customers who were stricken with norovirus after visiting an Exeter Toby Carvery pub in April 2015.
The Exeter Arms was closed after instances of the virus, which causes diarrhea and vomiting, were reported to management.
However, it continued to trade after closing for one day and more people fell ill.
Amandeep Dhillon, partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, which was instructed by the customers to investigate the outbreak, said at the time it hoped by taking legal action important lessons would be learned when it came to dealing with outbreaks of illness in similar premises.