A branch of Costa Coffee has been fined more than £13,000 after inspections found mouse droppings throughout the premises –and evidence that mice had gnawed packaging.
Costa Limited pleaded guilty to four breaches of The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 at their Lord Street outlet.
Costa Ltd was fined a total of £13,200, made to pay £1,989.82 in costs to Liverpool City Council and a £120 victim surcharge.
The court was told that on 5 February 2015 Environmental Health Officers from Liverpool City Council carried out an unannounced routine inspection.
Mouse droppings were found throughout the premises in areas where open foods and drinks were stored, handled and prepared which presented a risk of contamination.
The number of mouse droppings present indicated that pest activity had been on-going; and activity had been recorded in pest control reports between September 2014 and November 2014.
Droppings were found in the ground floor service/food preparation counter and in the ground floor kitchen ,used for equipment washing and containing chilled storage equipment.
In particular the droppings were discovered
• In the service cupboard located in the rear equipment washing and chilled food storage room
• In the electrical service cupboard in the restaurant area
• On surfaces inside the display cabinet on the front counter, which contained various cakes and baked goods
• On surfaces near the sandwich table top grilling machine, where open packets of bread, food packaging, chopping boards and utensils were stored/used
• Stuck on food packaging (cardboard sleeves and bags) used for serving reheated paninis and sandwiches to customers .Evidence of gnawed packaging stored in the under counter storage units was also noted
• On surfaces under the coffee machine
• On plastic trays which contained milk jugs and various equipment used for preparing hot drinks
• Inside cardboard boxes of pre-packaged biscuits
• On plates stored in the under counter shelving
• On surfaces behind equipment including . under counter fridges
• Inside wall voids/service hatches
Droppings were also found in the manager’s office on the first floor of the premises, in particular; including inside cardboard boxes of pre-packaged biscuits and surfaces and surfaces of cardboard boxes stored on and below t metal storage racking.
They were also found directly under the customer seating in the ground floor and first floor customer areas of the premises and inside the electrical/utility cupboard on the ground floor.
During a revisit inspection of premises council officers saw a live mouse running across the floor in the customer seating area.
Costa Coffee reopened on 11 February 2015 after carrying out extensive cleaning and pest proofing works.
In sentencing District Judge Shaw said: “Costa are a nationwide chain with several outlets. Mice infiltrated the premises and mouse droppings were found throughout the store. It’s a shameful way to treat customers. Many thousands must have visited the premises between September and the date of the inspection”
Councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “These were shocking breaches of hygiene regulations from a very well-known company and the seriousness of the situation was reflected in the level of the fine.”