‘Dangerous’ East London supermarket slapped with £63k fine after mouse droppings found

The owners of a supermarket in East London have been prosecuted and fined £63,000 after food safety officers found mouse droppings on its premises.

A Hoo Hing Ltd branch in Leyton, East London, was once a cafe, Chinese supermarket and importer of oriental food, before being shut down and labelled “a danger to public health” by Waltham Forest council.

The owners pleaded guilty to three charges of not keeping the premises clean or in good repair and condition, failing to put in place adequate procedures to control pests, and failure to properly clean all equipment that came into contact with food.

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Hoo Hing Ltd in Leyton, East London has been shut down and fined £63,000 after food safety officers found mice droppings on its premises

On August 2, Stratford Magistrates Court heard that the building was in a general dirty state, including mouse droppings contained in shredded paper and plastic. Waltham Forest maintained that the company was not taking the required steps to control the problem.

Hoo Hing Ltd was ordered by the court to pay a penalty of £63,300, in addition to local authority costs of £2,145.66, and a victim surcharge cost of £170.

The supermarket, once of Staffa Road, was also ordered to pay the fine in just 14 days.

A representative for Waltham Forest council said Hoo Hing Ltd’s health failings were “obvious”.

“Every food outlet has a duty of care to their customers,” said the council.

“It was obvious to anyone that saw the kitchens that there was and had been a major mouse problem for some time.

“It was simply inexcusable for the staff and managers to ignore it and put people’s health at risk.”

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Food safety officers found mouse droppings on plates and other food equipment in Hoo Hing Ltd’s kitchen

During court proceedings, Hoo Hing Ltd’s defence stated that the hygiene failings occurred by way of poor local management and poor pest control.

They also said the directors of the company, who own four Hoo Hing Ltd branches across the UK, had not been paid or received any dividends.

Meanwhile, the owner of nearby supermarket, Man Foods Ltd, who has agreed to be referenced but not named, told MyLondon that after frequent visits to the outlet, they did not notice any health concerns: “I don’t think they deserved to be shut down.

“After hearing the news, I do agree with the fine and being served an improvement notice, but not to be closed down.

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The owner of nearby Man Foods has told MyLondon that Hoo Hing Ltd did not deserve to be closed down by Waltham Forest council

“They had been here for more than 20 years. People still come around looking for them. They come into this store and ask of them.”

The routine hygiene inspection was carried out by Waltham Forest council back in April 2019.

The council’s food safety officers found a “severe mouse infestation” in both the café and kitchen.

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Officers also found mouse droppings on plates and serving trays, as well as poor levels of cleanliness where open food and ingredients were being stored and handled.

Waltham Forest immediately swung into action and shut down Hoo Hing Ltd.

The owners were told to rid the premises of mice and thoroughly clean the building before being allowed to reopen.

Hoo Hing Ltd’s Leyton outlet has since closed down believed to be as a result of Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

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