A dirty butchers must pay a hefty fine after officers found evidence of a mouse infestation, holes in walls and surfaces encrusted in filth .

Ealing Council’s food safety team paid unannounced visits to Al-Rafidain in Churchfield Road, Acton, in July last year and February this year as the business had a poor history of compliance with food law.

Al-Rafidain has been ordered to pay more than £13,500 after the owner pleaded guilty to seven charges at Ealing Magistrates Court on September 16.

Two of the charges related to separate fly-tipping offences and one was as a result of the shop continuing to trade illegally after it had been ordered to close. The fines totalled £9,800, the council’s costs were £3,535.91 plus a £240 victim surcharge.

In July 2013 the butchers was in a bad state with packets of food gnawed open - the shop was closed following the inspection.

Officers found standards had yet again deteriorated this February with holes in walls and the floor, mouse droppings including on the shelves and cleaning cloths, and a live mouse among sacks of rice.

 

Fresh meat was being stored on dirty shelves, the room was flooded with water from a faulty condenser which had saturated packages of food and expired, and mouldy food was found on the floor.

Officers served a hygiene emergency prohibition notice and ordered the shop to temporarily close, however, when a council officer visited the butchers later that evening he found it was still trading.

Light switch encrusted with dirt
 

Councillor Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for community services and safety, said: “The council has used its emergency powers to close this business twice within seven months, but the owners of Al-Rafidain seem to show no respect for their customers or for the public’s health.

We try to work with businesses to help them improve, but continued failure to comply with food law leaves us with no option but to prosecute. I hope this hefty fine teaches the owners of this business a lesson.”

Anyone concerned a business is breaching food hygiene regulations should contact the council’s food safety team on 020 8825 6666, or via email at foodsafety@ealing.gov.uk.