Magistrates close food business after council uncovers rat infestation

A Swindon man has had his food wholesaling business shut down after council food hygiene inspectors uncovered a widespread rat infestation in his premises.

Published: Thursday, 7th February 2019
Evidence of rat infestation at food wholesalers

Environmental Health officers from Swindon Borough Council discovered the infestation following a routine food hygiene inspection of Memet Edikci’s Melisa Foods, a food wholesalers which operates out of 1 Aylesbury Street in the town centre.

Officers found gnawed food items and damaged food packaging inside the premises and other gnawed items such as paperwork and boxes of carrier bags that would be used by customers for ready-to-eat food.

There was also evidence of nesting material and a large quantity of rat droppings throughout the premises including on food products, underneath shelving and inside a filing cabinet.

Following the inspection on 28 January, the Council concluded that the business posed an imminent risk of injury to health and a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served on the premises.

On Tuesday, magistrates heard that the health risks had not changed following two further visits to the business last Thursday (31 Jan) and on Monday (4 Feb).

Mr Edikci confirmed that the evidence presented by the Council’s solicitor Mr Wirth was correct and he apologised to the court for the condition of his premises. He told magistrates he was going to go straight to his premises after the hearing to carry out further work to eradicate the issues.

The magistrates were satisfied that officers from the Council took the appropriate action in closing the premises due to the health risk and they made a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order to keep the business closed until the health risk condition is removed by Mr Edikci.

Magistrates also ordered Mr Edikci to pay the Council £2,000 in costs.

Councillor Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “It is cases like this which highlight the importance of the Council’s food hygiene team. Had our officers not carried out this routine inspection, this business would have carried on operating and ultimately putting people’s health at risk.

“We have a duty to protect residents and, while this is a rare case which does not reflect the majority of hard-working food businesses in Swindon, I hope it gives the public some reassurance that we take public safety and food hygiene very seriously indeed.”

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