A RAT infested shop that had potentially deadly out-of-date pate for sale has been ordered to pay nearly £7,000.
SMD Management North West Ltd, which managed a shop on Holme Slack Lane, Preston, was ordered to pay £6,815.19 in fines and costs following an investigation by environmental health officers.
During the inspection there was evidence of a rat infestation including old and fresh droppings, gnawed food packaging and gnawed food.
Foods which had passed their “use by” date were also found for sale on several other visits.
Coun John Swindells, said: “Preston City Council will not tolerate businesses operating in a manner which puts financial gain before public health. We want to continue to work with businesses to ensure all establishments in Preston are meeting an acceptable standard.
“We have been trialling a new approach that has seen 18 businesses out of 30 improve to at least a level three rating since February.”
The company’s premises were first visited in December 2013 after a pest control officer had visited a nearby home in connection with a complaint about rats.
A Brussels pate, with a use by date which had expired 3½ weeks before the inspection, was on the shelf.
Pate is associated with a pathogen called listeria monocytogenes, which is attributed to the highest cause of death from food poisoning in the UK. A rare disease, listeriosis hospitalises most of those infected, and about a third will die from the disease.
Despite the findings, the firm’s director, Mayank Kumar Soni, who attended court, refused to close the shop voluntarily.
The premises were closed using hygiene emergency prohibition powers in December.
He admitted failing to register a food business part way through the trial, but was found guilty of not having adequate procedures to control pests and three counts of selling food past its use by date.
The company was fined £4,000 for each of the remaining four offences and must pay a £100 surcharge and more than £2,000 costs.