Pub hit by £2,900 penalty

By Mark Elson in Local People

A PUB landlady has been ordered to pay £2,900 in fines and costs after 22 out of date foods were found in the kitchen by inspectors.

Chepstow’s Boat Inn was given a zero-out-of-five food hygiene rating after an inspection by environmental health officers last December.

Monmouthshire council’s environmental health team said that since the inspection the business had worked closely with them and had now achieved a “vastly improved” four (good) food hygiene rating.

However, they decided to take court action for the earlier state of the kitchen, when they also found inadequate hand washing facilities and unclean surfaces.

Newport magistrates convicted Patricia Simpson of four offences and fined her £1,900 with £1,000 costs.

She admitted supplying food that was unsafe for human consumption, failing to implement safe food management procedures, failing to maintain the food premises in a clean condition and non-display of the current food hygiene rating.

The food hygiene inspection report said that 22 foods, including faggots, cheese, paté, beef, gammon and rump steaks, bacon, sausages and Christmas pudding were past their use-by date by between one day and a month.

The inspector added: “Two bags of salad were also observed in a state of decomposition and therefore unfit for human consumption.”

There was no soap at the wash basin or easily accessible hand-drying facilities, and it was clear no hand washing had taken place as food was being prepared.

The floor, shelving, fridges and ice machine all needed cleaning, a fridge door was faulty and being held shut by a fire extinguisher and walls needed repairing so they could be kept clean.

Action also needed to be taken on better pest control, while there was “little evidence of food safety management” in an environment that had “numerous cross contamination risks”.

The report said that “urgent improvement” was needed, and the rating of zero had to be displayed where customers could see it. The pub has since been retested at a cost of £160 and re-rated as four following cleaning and other improvements in the kitchen.

In Wales, Food Hygiene Standards Agency ratings must be displayed by law, but in England displaying the sticker is optional. However, all scores are recorded on the agency’s website at http://ratings.food.gov.uk

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for food hygiene ratings, Councillor Sara Jones, said: “The council’s environmental health department will always work with food businesses to maintain standards and protect public health. 

“However, we will not hesitate to use our statutory powers when conditions are found to be poor and businesses have not responded to our advice.

“Our goal is for all food outlets in Monmouthshire to achieve an acceptable standard of hygiene and aim for excellence.”

Food businesses requiring help or advice, should contact Monmouthshire’s environmental health team on 01873 735420.

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