Asda has been fined £700,000 after Environmental Health Officers found mice droppings and a live mouse at the bakery in its Bromborough store.
The retailer appeared before Liverpool Magistrates Court yesterday (4 September) where it was also ordered to pay £34,856 in costs plus a £170 victim surcharge. Asda pleaded guilty to two offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013: failing to have adequate procedures to control pests and failing to ensure production was protected against contamination.
The case comes less than a year after Asda was fined £664,000 following a mouse infestation at its store in Park Royal, west London.
Mouse droppings found at the Asda in-store bakery
The Bromborough offences dated back to 28 October 2015 when Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) visited the store following a complaint from a member of the public.
Mouse droppings were found under shelving in the in-store bakery, under a water cooler, below metal storage cages and at the bottom of cooling racks. Officers also saw a live mouse on a baking tray and discovered mice droppings on a baking tray next to a cooled cookie.
Asda agreed to close the bakery voluntarily until the EHOs were satisfied there was no longer a risk to health, and the bakery re-opened on 30 October 2015.
Officers worked with the management team at Asda over the following weeks to remedy the situation and ensure there was no further risk to public health.
Live mouse found between the baking trays
Councillor Phillip Brightmore, Wirral Council cabinet member for the environment, said the council took complaints from members of the public seriously about food businesses who were breaking the law.
“Although prosecuting a business is a last resort for the council, we will not hesitate to do so when we need to protect public health,” said Brightmore. “We are pleased that Asda stores have corrected the problem and have taken action to improve their systems.”
Following the court case, Asda told British Baker: “Our customers rightly expect our stores to be cleaned and maintained to the highest standards and we are deeply sorry that, in October 2015, the strict processes we have in place failed in the Bromborough store.
“Our customers can be assured that immediate steps were taken to address the causes at the time and that our high standards have been restored.”