Bakery owners who ran their business in “appalling hygiene conditions” were fined £40,000 at Luton Magistrates Court today (January 14).
Food safety officers visiting Meads Bakery Ltd in Bolton Road, Luton, found thick black mould growing on the walls and ceilings, evidence of pests including maggots nesting inside bread baskets, two dead mice, grease and raw bread dough coating floors and thick black mould in the fridges.
Sunderam Premanand and his wife Sathiabama Premanand ran the company which produced bread, rolls and pastries for small retailers throughout Luton and neighbouring counties.
They are now banned from ever managing a food business again.
The court heard how the couple ignored food safety officers’ warnings after eight visits to the premises between February 2012 and January 2013.
Mr Premanand previously operated the business as a sole trader and was fined £10,000 in 2011 for similar hygiene offences.
Magistrates imposed fines totaling £38,000 on the owners and the defendants were also ordered to pay Council costs of £1908 and £15 victim surcharge.
Councillor Mohammed Ashraf, portfolio holder for public health, said: “The terrible hygiene conditions in this business over a prolonged period of time indicate the owner’s total disregard for hygiene.
“We welcome the Magistrates decision to stop the bakery owners from managing a food business in future. The Council will not tolerate anyone running a food business with conditions which place public health at risk.”
Food safety inspectors said there was paint flaking from the walls and ceiling of the bakery, directly over preparation tables.
The mould was so thick in the staff lavatory it covered the entire wall surface and all of the lavatory fittings. Someone had scrawled the word ‘office’ into the mould on the office walls.
There was evidence of pests including swarms of fruit flies, and the owner admitted the pest control company he had employed had caught 68 mice over a five week period.
There were pools of dirty water under the sinks, spider webs were hanging in thick strands from the ceiling, food was stored in containers that were damaged, with large cracks visible and large shards of plastic broken off, and rusty metal on fridge shelves.
Workers did not know how to clean or disinfect and were mopping floors with dirty water.
For more information see www.luton.gov.uk/environmentalhealth - food control.