Rat droppings found in store


A Wellingborough food shop was forced to close for a week after the council’s environmental health team discovered rat droppings, an old rat infestation and food with mould growing on it.

The council’s senior environmental health officer deemed the conditions at Smakus, on Cambridge Street, Wellingborough, so unhygienic that they believed there would be a risk to the health of any customers who bought food there.

The officer served a Hygiene Prohibition Notice requiring the premises to close immediately, following a visit from the council on November 1.

The shop remained closed until November 8, at which time officers returned and found that conditions had improved enough and there was no longer a risk to health.

Amanda Wilcox, Wellingborough Council’s health protection manager, said: “We work informally with businesses where possible to make sure high standards are maintained, but when considerable failings are found that significantly risk public health, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action.

“The conditions found at this shop were particularly serious and we hope it will warn all food businesses that they must comply with the regulations. The public’s safety is our chief concern and we will do whatever is necessary to protect that.”

Health protection officers found poor conditions at the shop, which sells European food, including “extremely” dirty food equipment, food being stored at temperatures as high as 15C, an old rat infestation and rat droppings were seen in the food store room.

In addition, around 40 food products were seized from the premises because they were found to be either significantly passed their use-by date or unfit due to mould growth.

The company directors of Smakus Ltd appeared at Wellingborough Magistrates Court on November 8, and the court confirmed that there had been an imminent risk to public health and ordered the disposal of all food seized. The company was also ordered to pay the council’s costs, of over £1,000.

Smakus declined to comment.