The boss of a Pizza Hut delivery franchise responsible for 18 sites has said that an £8,000 fine issued to one of his branches for breaching kitchen hygiene offences was down to a situation he had inherited.
Pizza Hut on St Helen’s Road, Swansea, was served with an immediate closure notice for public protection in March last after health inspectors uncovered a string of food hygiene offences, including mouse droppings in the kitchen.
Swansea Magistrates Court heard this week how the “extensive and active” mouse infestation was found in the kitchen and cellar area, where pizza delivery boxes were stored.
Mouse droppings were discovered in the kitchen area and dough-proving machine, as well as behind the pizza toppings fridge and on a preparation table.
A dirty chiller was thick with grime and there was food spillage and debris on the floor.
The court heard that in the basement – where the empty pizza delivery boxes were being stored – the inspectors found black mould on the walls, and a dead mouse.
Inspectors also found a lack of proper staff training, and a failure to register as a food operator, according to a report by Wales Online.
The prosecutor said that the premises were cleaned and disinfected the following day, and the company successfully applied for the prohibition notice to be lifted.
After a subsequent re-inspection of the premises by local EHOs, it was awarded the highest hygiene rating of five.
Milton Keynes-based Sania PH Ltd, which owns the franchise, had previously pleaded guilty to six offences under the Food Hygiene Wales Regulations when the case came before the district judge.
Six mirror charges against Mubarak Ali, who owns the company and runs 18 outlets in England and Wales, were dropped.
Ieaun Rees, on behalf of the company said, said there had never been any problems with any of its outlets before, including another one in Swansea.
According to Wales Online, he said Mr Ali had inherited the situation at the St Helen’s Road shop when he took over the franchise six months before the inspection, and he had corrected the problems within 48 hours of being made aware of the problems.
The district judge said it was very much to the credit of Mr Ali’s company that work to put right the problems was begun the day after the inspection.