Mice droppings and feed debris on a work surface

Liverpool supermarket fined for serious hygiene breaches

A local Liverpool supermarket has been fined almost £6,000 after putting the health of its customers at risk.

Sun Market Liverpool on Prescot Road, has been fined after pleading guilty to breaching four food safety and hygiene regulations.

During an inspection on 6 December 2021, the City Council’s Environmental Health officers found the premises infested with mice, and despite the conditions, the shop continued to serve customers. Mouse droppings were discovered throughout, on surfaces and under shelving units. Around 20 food items had been visibly gnawed, and a clear lack of cleaning ensured the food debris provided the rodents with a readily available food source.

A number of gaps and holes in the building provided rodents with easy entry points.  

Conditions were so severe, Sun Market Liverpool was immediately shut down due to the “imminent risk to health”, as mice are known carriers of zoonoses (diseases transmissible from animals to humans) including; salmonella, campylobacter, listeria and hantavirus which can cause serious illness, especially to vulnerable people such as children, the elderly, immunocompromised and those who are pregnant.

During the closure period a number of bait devices had been eaten, which confirmed there was still an on-going pest problem within the premises. After the shop carried out remedial works, the City Council team revisited the venue on 13 December 2021 and agreed that the shop could reopen.

After pleading guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court, Sun Market Liverpool Ltd was fined £2,800, with a surcharge of £190, and costs of £3,000 awarded to Liverpool City Council.

Based on the initial findings, Sun Market Liverpool was awarded the lowest food hygiene rating of zero – which signifies urgent improvement is necessary. Following an inspection in October 2022, 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 the public can check the food hygiene rating of most food business in Liverpool by visiting www.food.gov.uk/ratings 

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, Councillor Laura Robertson Collins, said:

“It’s an absolute disgrace that some business owners operate in a way in which can literally put lives at risk.

“It’s never an easy read when it comes to food safety cases, and we owe a huge amount to our City Council hygiene heroes who take immediate action when necessary and ensure those breaching regulations are brought to justice.

“This is a substantial fine which this business now has to pay thanks to their careless approach to managing a business safely, and we hope it sends out a strong messages to food premises across the city that unsatisfactory standards will not be tolerated and we will take action.” 

Liverpool Waterfront