Six food venues in Birmingham were given hefty fines for a series of hygiene breaches at the end of 2022.
Penalty charges of up to £14,000 were dished out amid reports of rat droppings, cockroach activity, and a host of other poor food safety practices.
Inspections from Birmingham City Council’s environmental health department led to the fines being handed out in November and December last year.
Restaurants often receive food hygiene ratings from the Food Standars Agency. The scheme gives businesses a rating from 5 to 0 which is displayed at premises and online so customers can make more informed choices about where to buy and eat food.
A 5-star rating means hygiene standards are very good, while 0 means urgent improvement is required.
Venues are marked on a number of factors, including the handling of food, how food is stored, how food is prepared, cleanliness of facilities and how food safety is managed.
Below is a list of the six venues ordered to pay thousands after appearing on the department’s radar for all the wrong reasons:
The inspections were carried out by the environmental health department
1. The Woodhouse, Acocks Green: Fined in December 2022
The Woodhouse cafe on Olton Boulevard East was ordered to pay £6,810 in December after two visits from environmental health saw evidence of ‘extensive rat activity’ in the kitchen.
Flies were seen throughout the premises along with evidence that rodents had ‘gnawed through’ freezers and gained access to the inside.
An environmental health report said: “The business was dirty and structurally in poor condition. Clean crockery including bowls and plates was found to contain debris and hair. Takeaway containers had fallen behind equipment and were contaminated with rat droppings.”
Photo: Google Street View
2. Al Fursan, Sparkbrook: fined November 2022
A penalty charge totalling £7,000 was given to Al Fursan on Stratford Road in November after inspectors found ‘plant life growing in the wall’.
Other issues at the restaurant were the ‘poor and inadequate storage of meat carcasses’ in the walk-in chiller. Operators Yemeni Oasis Restaurant Ltd. pleaded guilty to 12 offences of breaching food safety and hygiene regulations.
Environmental health said: “Food was not protected against contamination, there was food in open food containers on the floor of the kitchen. Raw liver was in the countertop chiller unit adjacent to pulses and cooked chicken. The metal racks used on the charcoal grill were dirty with a heavy build-up of grease.”
3. Chucky’s Chippy, Sparkbrook. Fined in November 2022
This takeaway on Stratford Road was ordered to pay £9,379 in November after pleading guilty to ten hygiene offences.
Environmental health said it found evidence of cockroach activity with gaps in the structure allowing ‘cockroach ingress’, as well as blackened chopping boards.
It added that flooring, chillers, shelving, hand contact points, walls, pipework, a wash hand basin and sink, a preparation table, a gas cooker and a fryer, were all found to be dirty. Photo: oogle Street View
4. The Grain Bakery, Nechells: fined in November 2022
Again in November, The Grain Bakery on Proctor Street was slapped with a £10,529 penalty after it was found guilty of 12 offences relating to sanitation conditions including evidence of mouse droppings and easy access for pests.
Environmental health said: “The premises was dirty with food debris and grease. The ceiling in the bakery had a leak. Food was not covered during storage to protect it from contamination.
“A whisk used to whisk raw shell egg was placed on a yellow chopping board which was also used to chop ready-to-eat bread and store ready-to-eat tuna.”