Rainham’s Better Bread bakery fined after severe mouse infestation

A Rainham bakery and its director have been ordered to pay �12,000 after Havering Council’s environmental health inspectors found its premises infested with mice.

Better Bread Bakeries Ltd and Gary Hales, managing director of the company, both pleaded guilty to four food hygiene offences after a severe mouse infestation found during a routine inspection in November 2010.

The bakery, in Manor Way Business Centre, Fairview Industrial Estate, Marsh Way, was initially closed by Havering Council and it was kept shut until the bakery was satisfactorily cleaned and the infestation controlled.

The condition of the premises was so serious that it was also considered in the public interest to prosecute and the case was heard on Friday (February 10) at Havering Magistrates’ Court.

Hales admitted to the council that there was a problem and they had not been able to clean the bakery for the three or four months because of staff shortages but that he was “fully aware of what it was like,” a release from the authority said.

The council’s Environmental Health Team found large quantities of mouse droppings on the floor and on machinery and equipment used to produce food, it added.

Some of the equipment had recently been used.

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Inspectors also found dead and decomposing mice and live mice running through the bakery, on equipment and in food ingredients.

There was also evidence of mice gnawing through food packaging.

Magistrates said that the premises had been found in a “disgusting state”, and that the company and Hales had failed in their duty of care to maintain the business in a hygienic manner.

Better Bakeries Ltd and Hales were fined on four counts - a failure to ensure food was protected against the risk of contamination, a failure to have adequate procedures in place to control pests, a failure to ensure equipment was cleaned to avoid a risk of contamination and, finally, a failure to ensure food premises were kept cleaned and maintained in good repair and condition.

Cllr Lesley Kelly, cabinet member for housing and public protection, said: “Thanks to the swift action by Havering Council in temporarily shutting down Better Bread Bakeries, we were able to protect residents’ health and prevent further food contamination.”

Hales was fined �1,250 for each offence and ordered to pay �1,000 towards prosecution costs plus a �15 victim’s surcharge.

The same fines and costs were awarded against Better Bread Bakeries Ltd - a total of �12,030.

Better Bread Bakeries re-opened after the clean-up in November 2010.