Waltham businesses fined for food hygiene failings

Four Waltham Forest businesses have been ordered to pay large sums – in one case more than £1,000 – to the council after serious food hygiene failings were discovered.

Council officers performing inspections last month shut all four businesses down after finding problems like rotting dead rats, chewed food and mould.

Three of the businesses – a food supplier, a Chinese takeaway and a manufacturer and caterer – are based in Leyton and the last is a fish and chip shop in Woodford Green.

The businesses appeared before a magistrates court and were ordered to pay costs to the council, although the Chinese takeaway had already resolved the issues found.

Fortune Inn, Leyton

Council officers inspected Fortune Inn, a Chinese takeaway on High Road, Leyton, on July 7 and found rats in the shop and substandard cleaning.

By the time the owners appeared before a court on July 24, they had been able to remove these risks to public health.

The magistrate confirmed the council had been right to close the restaurant and awarded them £690 in costs.

JB Foods Ltd, Leyton

Officers inspecting JB Foods Ltd, on Church Lane, on July 13 found rat droppings on the floor and on shelving, as well as mouse droppings on a shelf behind the microwave oven.

The business manufactures sweets and snacks and also caters wedding and special events.

Other problems found at the business were sacks of flour with bite marks from rodents and part of the ceiling collapsed into the storeroom.

At Thames Magistrates’ Court, the business was ordered to pay costs of £1,009 to the council.

Sea Breeze, Woodford Green

Decomposed rat at Sea Breeze, Woodford Green

Officers visited Sea Breeze fish and chip shop on Hale End Road on July 17, after reports of a rat sighting.

They found rat droppings, gnawed cables inside the freezer, mouldy bread rolls for sale and a decomposing rat in the rear store room.

Thames Magistrate Court heard they also found there was not enough soap in the hand washing station, suggesting staff were not cleaning their hands properly when serving food.

At the hearing on July 24, the judge granted a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order and awarded £845 in costs to the council. 

Man Foods, Leyton

On July 22, officers shut down Man Foods in Dorma Trading Park on Staffa Road after they found rodent infestations, open rubbish containers and poor cleaning.

A large, decomposing rat was found on the premises along with large amounts of droppings.

Thames Magistrates Court confirmed on July 28 that the Chinese wholesalers should closed and awarded £922 to the council.

The council’s deputy leader, Cllr Clyde Loakes, responsible for the environment, thanked officers for their hard work and encouraged residents to check the Food Standards Agency’s rating before eating at a business.

He said: “Food poisoning can be extremely serious – even fatal – and our food safety teams play a vital role in keeping consumers protected.

“We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has put extra strain on our NHS and we must do all that we can to reduce that pressure.

“Therefore, food safety and hygiene has taken on even more importance at this time. No-one wants to end up in hospital for entirely avoidable reasons, especially in the middle of a national health crisis.

“I can’t quite believe that food business owners, whose livelihoods depend on their reputation, could be so careless as to let active pest infestations go unchecked in their premises.

“These businesses have found out to their cost that we will take all the necessary action to keep shoppers safe against laziness and poor hygiene standards.”

A dead rat found in Man Foods, Leyton (Photo: Waltham Forest Council)

Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter