National discount retail chain, Poundland has been hit with a fine of over £165,000 for food safety failures in its Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre store following a successful prosecution by Ealing Council.
Poundland Limited pleaded guilty to four offences dating back to April 2017, relating to an incident when a four-year-old girl picked up a multipack of Monster Munch crisps with her mother. The customer realised that there was a large number of mice droppings within the packet of crisps and holes on the bags inside the multipack. As she realised that this was not right, she contacted the food safety team at Ealing Council to express her concerns.
The council’s food safety team carried out an investigation which established that Poundland failed to protect food against any contamination likely to render the food unfit for human consumption, to keep their premises clean and to ensure that adequate procedures were in place to control pests. The organisation also failed to ensure that the construction of their premises permitted good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination and pest control.
On 15 August 2018, District Judge Wright at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court imposed a fine of £159,750 for all offences, with Poundland agreeing to pay the council’s costs of £8,368. Poundland has also agreed to pay the victim £500.
Councillor Joanna Camadoo, cabinet member for community safety and inclusion said:
“Food safety standards and public health are of the utmost importance and we’re delighted that the court has recognised how serious these offences are.
It is vital that the public can have confidence in the hygiene standards in our high street shops and this fine should serve as a stark warning to all businesses, whether large or small, that if they do not comply with regulations, we will take action.”
Anyone with concerns regarding a food business within the borough should contact the food safety team on 0208 825 6666.
Residents are urged to check the Food Standards Agency website to see the current hygiene ratings of businesses within the borough.