Liverpool butcher fined thousands for mice and dirt

A halal butcher must pay more than £4,500 for seven food safety violations, according to a verdict delivered by Liverpool Magistrates Court.

Ali Hacim Abdullah, who runs the Al Baraka butchers and convenience store on Granby Street, was fined £3,500 and made to pay £1,000 in costs to the council and a £170 victim surcharge.

The court was told that on 7 December 2015, environmental health officers from Liverpool City Council carried out an unannounced routine inspection and found that:

• the premises was not kept clean and equipment in the butchers and retail area was dirty;
• gaps and holes in the premises’ structure allowed entry points for mice;
• mice were active in the butchery and retail shop where uncovered foods were prepared, posing a serious risk of contaminating foodstuffs, food preparation surfaces and equipment;
• adequate procedures were not in place to control pests, in that a dead mouse and mouse droppings were found;
• a packet of bread rolls on sale at the time of the inspection had been gnawed by mice and was visibly contaminated with mouse droppings;
• tiled wall surfaces in the butchery area were defective and could not be effectively cleaned;
• floor surfaces in the butchery and by the walk-in chiller were damaged, preventing effective cleaning

The findings resulted in the immediate closure of the premises, with the co-operation of the manager, due to the imminent risks to public health.

The inspection followed a previous visit by officers five months earlier in July 2015. During that initial visit, issues regarding cleanliness within the premises had been discussed with Abdullah, with officers concerned by the general lack of cleanliness throughout the premises.

The manager was given guidance and a list of priority actions that should have been implemented as soon as possible. Unfortunately, no improvements were made, yet the business remained in operation for the intervening five months.

“Mr Abdullah has received a substantial fine which reflects the seriousness of the charge,” said councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Liverpool City Council, commenting on the verdict, which was delivered last week. “This case sends out a strong message that substandard hygiene in any food outlet across the city will not be tolerated, and our experienced team of environmental health officers are prepared to prosecute any business who puts their customers at risk.”

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