Eco-retreat fined £13,000 for food hygiene offences

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FLIES were discovered in a salad-dressing at a Powys business that was fined £13,000 for a series of food hygiene offences committed in 2016.

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT Charity Ltd), based in Pantperthog near Machynlleth, appeared at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, June 21, in a prosecution led by Powys County Council’s (PCC) Environmental Health Team.

After the hearing, CAT said it had made improvements and its hygiene rating had increased from zero to three.

Representatives of the centre pleaded guilty to 10 food hygiene offences, including: failing to keep the food premises clean, failing to ensure that food preparation utensils and equipment are kept clean and maintained in good repair, failure to protect food ingredients and food from contamination likely to render the food unfit for human consumption, failure to ensure adequate procedures are in place to control pests, failure to maintain food safety management procedures, and placing food on the market that was unfit for human consumption.

The court heard how a Powys council environmental health officer found accumulations of dirt, grease and food debris on floor and wall coverings, shelves, the underside of food preparation surfaces, the extraction canopy and in the equipment washing area.

The door seals of the walk-in chiller and freezer were mouldy and food preparation utensils were dirty and damaged.

Food was stored in open packets despite there being flies in the kitchen and dead flies were found in a ready-to-eat salad dressing which had been left uncovered in the food handling area.

Magistrates fined CAT Charity Ltd £13,000 for the 10 offences and ordered them to pay £1,596 prosecution costs and a mandatory surcharge of £100.

Cllr Jonathan Wilkinson, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Health, said: “Food businesses that prepare and serve food to the public have a responsibility to ensure that their premises comply with food hygiene regulations.

“All food business operators in the county should take note of the penalties they may face when they do not comply with food hygiene regulations. I would like to remind members of the public to check Food Hygiene Ratings before choosing where to eat out or to buy food from.”

Since the original inspection, the centre has addressed many of the issues and now has a food hygiene rating of three.

A CAT spokesperson said: “This court case relates to an inspection that took place in September 2016, which led to a zero rating for the CAT cafe.

 

“We immediately set about making improvements, acting decisively to address each issue raised by Environmental Health. As a result, we have since been awarded a level three rating, and are continuing to work on improving this with a view to gaining a top rating.”

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