A recently opened branch of Muffin Break in Birmingham’s flagship Grand Central shopping mall was shut down due to mouse infestation yesterday (9 November).

A hygiene prohibition notice from environmental health officers at Birmingham City Council was posted on the window, stating that the closure was due to food being “at risk of contamination”.

It also listed “mice activity” and “inadequate cleaning” as reasons for the temporary closure of the Foodco UK LLP franchise.

A council spokesman told British Baker that the action had been taken as there was an imminent risk to public health. The site would re-open as soon as an environmental health action plan had been carried out, he said.

Birmingham’s Grand Central shopping centre only opened on Sunday, 20 September following a five-year rebuild of New Street Station. The affected Muffin Break outlet seats up to 65 customers and employs 15 people. Lisa Brook, general manager of Muffin Break, commented at the time of the opening: “It’s fantastic to be part of a brand new shopping centre in such a prime location in Birmingham.”

Muffin Break first started in Australia in 1989, and opened its first UK site in Derby in 2002. It currently has 58 outlets in the UK under the umbrella of Foodco UK LLP. The company aims to open 15 further sites before the end of the financial year.

The Muffin Break menu includes muffins, cakes, slices, cookies and scones; alongside quiches, sandwiches, soups, wraps and paninis.

The company said: "Muffin Break takes the findings of the Birmingham City Council environmental health team extremely seriously and supports the temporary closure of the Grand Central store for further investigation and remedy. 

"Muffin Break operates 57 stores across the UK and has systems and practices in place to ensure the highest standards of hygiene.  The Grand Central store is covered by an ongoing Muffin Break contract with Ecolab Ltd – established pest control specialists – who advise and manage pest control within the store.  The team is also trained in hygiene practices and standards.

"It is recognised that a train station location increases the need for constant vigilance, and Muffin Break is committed to ensuring that its many customers can enjoy their visits to the café bakery with confidence.  The company is working with the relevant authorities, the landlord and stakeholders, as well as its contractors, to resolve the issue quickly and to the highest standard.

"Muffin Break apologises for any inconvenience caused to our many loyal customers by the temporary closure of the store."