Sunrise Bakery, which specialises in Caribbean bread products, has been ordered to pay £30,000 in fines and costs after bosses pleaded guilty to 22 hygiene offences.
Environmental health officers made three visits to the bakery in Woodlands Street, Smethwick in October 2017. On the first they found mouse droppings on the floor near bread ovens, where ingredients were stored and where bread was cooled.
Copeland Drummond, director of the bakery’s controlling company William Herman Ltd, was told a pest controller was needed to carry out urgent rodent treatment, but when officers visited again in February 2018, this had not happened.
Other food hygiene breaches included failing to manage waste and store food properly, dirty premises and equipment, and failure to properly supervise or instruct staff on food safety procedures.
Drummond and William Herman Ltd each admitted 22 offences of food safety and hygiene failings at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Recorder Nicholas Bacon QC described the offences as “very serious” and said they could have created “real difficulties” to consumers’ health. He fined the company £20,000 and ordered it to pay £10,000 costs, while Drummond was given a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work.
Following the case, Sunrise Bakery managing director Errol Drummond told British Baker the business had worked closely with the council over the years.
“We try to produce to the highest standards that we can and we have always done that,” he said. “We started over 50 years ago – this is our 53rd year – if we were a bad company we would not have survived for 53 years.”
He explained that the rodent problem happened at a time when the bakery was changing pest controller, and that the business had made the council aware of this.
Drummond said that, since changing pest controller, there had not been “a single sign of a mouse dropping”.
“Since the case we have spoken to our customers,” he added. “They can see the systems we operate and they seem satisfied. A lot of our customers have supported us – anyone who wants to visit us can do so and see how we work.”
Drummond added that all Sunrise bakery staff go through three-yearly food hygiene training and that its technical manager is qualified to degree level.
Councilllor Farut Shaeen, cabinet member for living healthy lives at Sandwell Council, which prosecuted Sunrise Bakery, said the council took food hygiene matters extremely seriously.
“We welcome this sentence, which, thanks to our environmental health and legal teams, was brought before the court. We hope it acts as a deterrent to other food businesses that do not manage their businesses in compliance with the law.”