Butcher sentenced for poor hygiene

A Hucknall butcher has been sentenced to pay over £6,000 due to the lack of hygiene standards on his premises. 

On 9 September 2015, and 5 January 2016, inspections were carried out by Environmental Health Officers from Ashfield District Council at C Cassidy and Sons Ltd, revealing several food safety and hygiene concerns.

Dirty equipment and utensils used to prepare and serve food, a lack of food hygiene training for members of staff, and dirty aprons and tabards worn by staff and management were among the issues raised.

In addition, employees working in the retail area were observed serving both raw meats and ready to eat foods, potentially resulting in cross-contamination between uncooked and cooked meat.

Several surfaces and fixtures and fittings, including towel dispensers, hand soap dispensers and chiller door seals were all found to be in a poor and dirty condition.

Subsequent to these discoveries, Christoper Cassidy - who ran the shop - voluntarily agreed to close the shop and reduce the food hygiene score to zero. Following on from this, a visit to the premises was made on the morning of 6 January 2016, where it was found that the cleaning standards were still unacceptable. A further visit was scheduled for later that day when officers discussed the imminent risk of cross-contamination no longer existing. The store was then re-opened.

Environmental officers revisited the premises several times during January 2016, where they found some improvements. A hygiene notice was served in March 2016, ordering food handlers and management to receive food hygiene training.

In July, a further revisit showed that there were still issues that could lead to food contamination, including dirty surfaces and no adequate food safety management system. This resulted in the store receiving a food hygiene rating score of one.

On 21 September 2016 at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, Cassidy pleaded guilty to 10 offences charged under food hygiene regulations. The case was further committed to Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on 12 October, where the butcher was ordered to pay a £1,500 fine and the council’s costs of £4,671.

“Food hygiene is of utmost importance and breaches can potentially lead to severe harm for the public,” said councillor Nicolle Ndiweni, Ashfield District Council portfolio holder for community safety engagement.

“In this case, there was a complete lack of basic cleaning and good food hygiene practices were not followed. Preparing food in a dirty environment is not just bad practice, it can lead to serious illness or even death.

“Ashfield’s officers made every effort to work with Mr Cassidy to see improvements made, but had to act in the interest of public safety when issues raised were left unaddressed.”  

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