Supermarket giant Asda has been fined £664,000 after a customer bought cheese rolls contaminated with mouse droppings from its in-store bakery in Ealing .
The customer initially thought black pellets on the rolls, which he bought at the Park Royal branch on September 9 last year, were seeds and bit into them before making the gruesome realisation.
He reported the incident to Ealing Council , which carried out an unannounced inspection of the store on the same day and found the bakery to be in a "filthy state".
Officers found mouse poo on bags of flour, food packaging and trolleys used for bread and shelving.
A frozen mouse was found at the entrance to a walk-in freezer and food packaging was gnawed.
At least 72 visits to the premises the following year were carried out by a pest control employed by the company highlighting a "serious rodent problem", the council said.
The bakery was considered an "imminent risk" to public health and the store manager agreed to close it, while the rest of the store stayed open.
He signed a voluntary surrender agreement and disposed of the food stuffs stored in the contaminated areas.
Officers carried out a follow up inspection on September 21 2015 and found Asda had carried out required cleaning and pest-proofing.
The bakery reopened, and inspections have since shown that these improvements have been maintained and the bakery is now operating to a good standard.
Asda Stores Limited appeared at Ealing Magistrates Court on September 1 this year and pleaded guilty to four offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
At a later sentencing hearing on November 4 at Uxbridge Magistrates Court, Asda Stores Limited was fined £250,000 for each of the four offences, totalling £1 million.
But this figure was reduced to £166,000 for each offence due to the early guilty plea and mitigating factors, leaving a final total of £664,000.
The superstore was ordered to pay the council’s costs of £7,559.24, £500 in compensation to the customer that originally bought the contaminated rolls and a victim surcharge of £120.
Councillor Ranjit Dheer, tee council's cabinet member for community services and safety, said: "This is a great result for the council and I am very pleased that the court has recognised the seriousness of these offences and has imposed such a heavy fine.
"People expect the highest standard when they shop for food and put their faith known brands and Asda should know better."
A spokesman for Asda said: "We are truly sorry for the unacceptable conditions found in our Park Royal store in September 2015 and to Mr Draycott for his dreadful experience.
"We would like to reassure all our customers that we took immediate action to restore the high standards in the store that our customers expect from us."
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