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Crowmarsh pub owners ordered to pay almost £6,500 after rat droppings found in food storage area

Owners of a pub in Crowmarsh Gifford have been ordered to pay almost £6,500 for breaching food and safety rules after rat droppings were found in the food storage areas and the kitchen was not adequately cleaned.

South Oxfordshire District Council environmental health team brought the case, which was heard at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 4 December. The owner of the Crowmarsh Pub Company pleaded guilty to ten charges of breaching food safety hygiene regulations.

Magistrates imposed a fine of £3,300. They awarded costs of £3,000 and imposed a victim surcharge of £190.

The council’s food safety team visited The Queens Head public house in The Street, Crowmarsh Gifford on 1 October 2019 to carry out a routine inspection.

They found the kitchen dirty, with grease and food debris on the cooking range, grease encrusted on the fryers and rat droppings in the storage area and cellar.

The pub had poor standards of cleaning, processes which could allow cross contamination of food and out of date food in the fridges. The council officers found food left out uncovered in food storage areas, which also had evidence of rats, with droppings and gnawed packages. There were also no procedures to prevent the pests getting in.

They food safety team returned on 8 October 2019 and again the following month on 5 November and found several of the same issues as with the previous visits, despite information and warnings given to the pub owners that the safety concerns needed to be remedied immediately

In a statement given at the court case the owners expressed remorse for finding themselves in this position. They explained that at the time of the visits the pub was low on staff and found it difficult to run the business day-to-day and keep up with the schedule of works required following the inspections.

Since November 2019, the owners have made virtually all the changes needed and had received a recent inspection which confirmed this.

Cllr David Rouane, cabinet member for housing and the environment said: “It is the council’s duty to the public to help ensure hygiene standards are maintained by all food outlets, whether they are large companies, small online businesses or village pubs.

“The council will take action where necessary to protect people’s health when companies fail to keep to the food safety rules.”

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