Mouse and insect infestation leads to closure of food shop
Published: 19 August 2015
A grocery store in Garratt Lane was so badly infested with mice and insects and was in such a poor state of hygiene that council health inspectors were forced to close its doors immediately.
The decision to shut the Punjab Superstore was later backed by magistrates who ruled that the business posed an immediate risk to public health.
The shop has since reopened after it was thoroughly treated by cleaners and pest controllers and the infestations brought under control. Large quantities of contaminated food had to be thrown away.
The episode has prompted the council’s cabinet member for community services to remind food businesses of the need to keep their premises clean and pest free.
Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “This grocery shop was in a very poor state and posed an unacceptable risk to public health.
“Shopkeepers and business owners should not be under any illusion at all about the dire consequences of allowing standards to fall so badly.
“As well as all the income lost while the shop was closed and the significant outlay required to get the business back to an acceptable level of hygiene, there is also the cost of all the stock that had to be thrown out.
“Food shops and businesses need to maintain the very highest standards of hygiene, cleanliness and safety if they don’t want to suffer the same fate.”
Health inspectors found widespread evidence of mouse activity including numerous gnawed food packets still on sale to the public, plus dropping and urine on shelves, cupboards and food storage areas.
During the visit a large mouse was seen scuttling across the shop floor. The inspectors also found pharaoh ants and larder beetles.
The shop was closed immediately and remained closed for the following six days until all the problems were put right and the shop had been intensively cleaned and disinfected
Consumers can check on hygiene quality levels in local restaurants, take-aways and other food establishments by scrutinising their ratings under the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme (FHRS), which is operated by the Food Standards Agency.
You can check these ratings by visiting www.wandsworth.gov.uk/foodsafety. Anyone with concerns about food safety or hygiene conditions in a local shop or restaurant should telephone (020) 8871 6139.