Food wholesale and distribution business in Milton Keynes fined after rat infestation found

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    A food wholesaler trading in Bletchley has been fined £16,000 following action by Milton Keynes City Council’s Environmental Health Team.

    On 8 February 2023, Food Mill Ltd appeared at Reading Magistrates Court for sentencing in relation to three offences contrary to regulation 19 of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

    The offences date back to September 2021 and related to the company’s failure at the time to ensure adequate measures were in place to control rat infestations, to ensure food produce was protected against contamination, and that the premises were sufficient for hygiene practices.

    On 16 September 2021 an environmental health officer visited the company trading as World Foods Wholesale at Unit 7 Bilton Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes.  At this time a rat infestation was found, and conditions were assessed to be an ‘imminent risk to health’. 

    A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served, which meant the business had to be closed immediately. It remained closed until 30 September 2021 when a further assessment established that the conditions had been improved and a health risk no longer existed.

    During sentencing, District Judge Goozee said: “In terms of culpability, there is no doubt that the Company was failing to take adequate measures to prevent a not-insubstantial infestation. Signs were prevalent throughout the premises. I assess the culpability for the Company as high”.

    Cllr Paul Trendall, Cabinet Member responsible for Environmental Health said: “The District Judge’s comments show the seriousness of this case, which is a good example of how our Environmental Health Team is helping to make Milton Keynes safer for everyone.

    "We monitor businesses to make sure that the standards residents rightly expect are being met, and we will always take action if that isn’t the case, whether that’s through guidance or enforcement.”

    Food Mill Ltd was fined £16,000, ordered to pay the full costs of £2531.20 incurred by Milton Keynes City Council during its investigation with a victim surcharge of £181. A total penalty of £18712.20 was imposed.

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