The operator of a local shop in north Liverpool has been fined £2750 with costs of £2500 awarded to Liverpool City Council after pleading guilty to six breaches of food safety and hygiene regulations.
Namcollis Mart (76-78 City Road, Liverpool, L4 5TE) is a small retail shop located near the grounds of Everton Football Club and sells a range of items including ready-to-eat foods, baby products and general household goods.
During an unannounced visit on 6 February 2020, city council Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) found that the shop was infested with mice.
Mouse droppings and mouse urine was found on high and low level shelving surfaces on the shop floor, including where prepacked ready-to-eat foods were stored. Droppings were also found underneath the kickboards of shelving where baby products were on display.
A dead mouse embedded in a gnawed chocolate bar was also found behind the shop counter, and a number of gnawed food packets on display were also discovered.
There were holes in the premises which provided access for rodents, and it was clear there was no adequate pest control measures in place.
Pest control reports showed that the shop’s own pest contractor had made recommendations to Namcollis Mart management, but insufficient action had been taken.
The team also found food products on sale that were past the manufacturers ‘use-by’ date, including a packet of sausages with visible mould growth on them.
Conditions were so unhygienic that the shop was immediately shut down because it presented an imminent risk to health as mice are known carriers of diseases transmissible from animals to humans. These include Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria which can cause serious illness, especially to vulnerable people and those who are pregnant.
During the closure period, a total of nine mice were caught, which confirmed there was a high level of rodent activity in the premises.
After the shop carried out remedial works EHOs revisited Namcollis Mart again on the 20 February 2020 and agreed that the shop could reopen.
The case was heard at Liverpool Magistrates Court on 20 May 2021.
Namcollis Mart, currently holds a food hygiene rating of ‘1’ (MajorImprovement Necessary) following the most recent inspection by the city council in March 2021.
Liverpool City Council’s Environmental Health service operates the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. The public can check the food hygiene rating of most food business in Liverpool by visiting www.food.gov.uk/ratings
Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for neighbourhoods, Councillor Abdul Qadir, said: “This is a shocking example of a severe breach of food safety standards which could have resulted in customers being very ill.
“We will not tolerate food businesses operating in this manner and the seriousness of this charge is reflected in the considerable fine levelled at the owner.
“Our environmental health team do incredible work across the city so that residents and visitors can, rightly so, expect the highest possible standards when they visit any food outlet.”