Hospitality sector encouraged to maintain hygiene standards
Environmental health officials in Liverpool are urging all food and drink outlets to ensure they maintain excellent hygiene standards on their premises.
The city council’s environmental health team is reminding businesses to ensure the highest possible hygiene standards are achieved and maintained in order to protect the health of their customers.
The call comes following the successful prosecution of Castle Street restaurant Santa Maluco Pizzeria, which has to pay £11,401 – a £4,500 fine for breaches of food safety and hygiene along with costs of £6,901 awarded to Liverpool City Council.
During an unannounced inspection in January 2020, the environmental health team found that the kitchen and bar area were filthy and infested with mice.
There was inadequate pest control measures in place, a dead mouse was found under the pizza oven and there were mouse droppings throughout the premises, including on food preparation surfaces. An obvious build-up of debris and grease on surfaces brought into question the validity of the daily and weekly cleaning records and gaps and holes in walls enabled rodents to easily access the venue.
Pest control recommendations provided by an external contractor had not been acted upon, with the report
revealing that mice had been active in Santa Maluco continuously since July 2018.
The kitchens were immediately shut down, as they presented an imminent risk to health. Mice are known carriers of diseases transmissible to humans including salmonella and listeria which can cause serious illness, especially to vulnerable people such as children, elderly, the immunocompromised and those who are pregnant.
During the closure period, a total of 11 mice were caught. The restaurant then carried out remedial works and were re-inspected and allowed to operate again from 22 January 2020.
Santa Maluco, is now trading under the new name of Maluco Pizzeria but under the same food business operator – Santa Maluco Ltd. Following a city council inspection in December 2020, it currently holds a food hygiene rating of ‘2’ – which indicates improvement is necessary.
Liverpool City Council’s Environmental Health service operates the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. Members of public can check the food hygiene rating of most food business in Liverpool by visiting www.food.gov.uk/ratings.
At Liverpool Magistrates Court on Monday 17 May 2021 District Judge Healey said: “I need to impose a penalty to address the risk to customers which reflects the offence.”
Liverpool City Council’s City Manager, Kevin Johnson, said: “We are fully aware that the pandemic has had a hugely detrimental impact on our hospitality industry and we share the overall relief that lockdown has eased to the point where the majority of businesses can begin to trade effectively again.
“However, we need to reinforce the message that when it comes to food safety and hygiene – businesses cannot take shortcuts and they must ensure they are putting the wellbeing of their customers first.
“Santa Maluco is a shocking example of a prominent Liverpool business which put the health of their guests at risk. There was a blatant disregard for hygiene standards, despite the efforts of our environmental health officers who continually worked with them, giving them advice and trying to make sure they reached at least satisfactory standards.
“The level of the fine for the owner reflects the seriousness of the charge, and I hope from now on, their food hygiene standards are the highest possible. “I’d like to thank our environmental health team for their hard work and persistence, and hope this reassures residents and visitors that we will not tolerate the actions of organisations that put public health at risk.”