Dirty café is hit with fine

A dirty café on an industrial estate in a village between Stone and Stafford has been handed a fine and costs of more than £1900.

Magistrates were told Stafford Borough Council investigated the shop and café on Airfield Industrial Estate in Hixon after a complaint by a customer that they had become ill after eating at the premises.

Café owner Jacqueline Hall, 54, admitted three offences relating to not keeping her premises and equipment clean. She was fined £900 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs with a victim surcharge of £30 on Monday (27 June).

The court in Newcastle Under Lyme was told that:

· Chopping boards used to prepare food were dirty

· The fridge was damaged and had debris and mould growth inside it

· Raw food was stored next to cooked foods

· An opened packet of corned beef in the fridge had passed its ‘use by’ date

Simon Turner, prosecuting for the Borough Council said:

“The inspection by Environmental Health was in response to a complaint referred to the Council. A customer had alleged illness from eating at the premises and had complained about the poor standard of cleanliness there.”

Chest freezers, the floor and cooker were also found to be dirty during the inspection last September.

The court was told that Ms Hall intended to close her business as it had been trading at a loss and she had been ‘let down’ by members of staff regarding the cleaning of the premises.

Following the case, Councillor Frank Finlay, Cabinet Member for Environment and Health, said:

“One of our top priorities is the health and wellbeing of our residents and we want to avoid people becoming ill, following a meal out, because the standards of hygiene have fallen below what is acceptable.

“The message to restaurants, cafes, and other eating out places is simple; if you do not keep your premises up to scratch then you will face prosecution – or even closure.”

Information on all eating out places across the borough can be found at www.food.gov.uk/ratings