Food business operator prosecuted over poor hygiene standards

A local food business operator in Eckington has pleaded guilty and been fined £1,129.37 for selling food items passed their use by date.

North East Derbyshire District Council visited Birkhill Stores in Eckington on 16 May 2019 and inspected the food contained within the refrigerators and found a number of food items were passed their use by date, including raw meats and ready to eat foods.

The food items were immediately seized by the officer. During the inspection, an     employee asked the Council officer if the food items could be thrown away without the need for formal action or if the officer could alter the date they were putting on the formal documents.

The premises have been subject to two previous inspections within the last two years, which resulted in the food safety hygiene rating being reduced to one and a warning letter sent regarding out of date food items.

The case was heard on 29th July at Northern Derbyshire Magistrates’’ Court when Mr M Vijayathas, the food business operator, pleaded guilty stating in mitigation that his employee had failed to follow procedures. The court imposed a band D fine to reflect the seriousness. He was fined £826 (reduced from £1240 for the plea) plus a Victim Surcharge of £82 and costs of £221.37, giving a total of £1129.37.

Councillor Charlotte Cupit, Cabinet member for the environment for North East Derbyshire District Council said:

“We have a zero tolerance policy on businesses who fail to comply with food safety regulations. The fact the premises had previously been inspected shows the disregard of the business owner and has duly been punished. We as a council actively inspect the businesses in the District to ensure our high standards are met. Food safety is an important issue and this prosecution is a clear message that poor hygiene standards and practises will not be tolerated and we aim to tackle and educate the owners at the source”.