Takeaway prosecuted for rodent infestation

A Banbury takeaway where a mouse infestation was discovered has pleaded guilty and been prosecuted for a series of serious food hygiene offences.

Published: Thursday, 11th March 2021

A hearing at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 10 March found Mr Rice Chinese Takeaway Ltd, of Broad Street in Banbury, guilty of three offences.

The breaches date back to September 2019, when a routine inspection by Cherwell District Council revealed that food was being stored and prepared in areas contaminated by mouse droppings. The council also prosecuted the establishment for failing to train its staff in proper food hygiene practices.

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Local people want to know that if they order food for takeaway or home delivery, it has been safely and hygienically prepared.

“To provide that confidence, we need to be making sure businesses have the information they need to follow the law and to be carrying out enforcement if they fall short. The gravity of these offences and the sheer level of pest activity meant that it was vital for us to take this case to court.

“I am pleased to hear that the officer intervention has been effective, and that the restaurant has now made improvements.”

Following the visit in question, Mr Rice had its food hygiene rating rescored from 3 to 0, and voluntarily closed for a deep clean. The council then made a further unannounced visit to the restaurant. This found that conditions had improved at the restaurant, meaning officers were able to give it a rating of 4.

The offences, under the Food Safety Act 1990, were: failing to ensure food was protected against contamination; failing to keep the premises clean and in good repair and condition; and failing to ensure that food handlers were supervised and instructed.

Cllr McHugh added: “We know that the hospitality trade has been hit hard by the pandemic, but for businesses to bounce back in the future it is important that consumers know hygiene standards have not been allowed to slide.”

The food hygiene scores for outlets across the district are online at ratings.food.gov.uk