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Three closures after food inspectors smell rat

05 December 2012

Two food businesses in Southall and a food manufacturer in Greenford were closed in November after the council’s food safety team found evidence of rat and mouse infestations. Regulatory services officers visited the premises in November on routine inspections and found them to be filthy and infested with vermin.

A live mouse was seen in one of the premises during the inspection. All three were closed immediately and the owners ordered to make major improvements.

Officers appeared before Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Friday 30 November to confirm their actions when closing the food businesses. The council also secured £394 in costs against one of the businesses, Univeral General Store.

Punjabi Virsa, an Indian takeaway and restaurant at 37 Featherstone Road, Southall, was closed last month after inspectors found evidence of a major rat infestation and a poor standard of cleaning. The premises were allowed to reopen having made substantial improvements.

Officers were also forced to close down Universal General Store, a butcher shop, based at 21 King Street, Southall. On another routine inspection, officers uncovered a rat infestation, a lack of hot water and a poor overall standard of cleaning. They also found that the owners had failed to act on the advice of their own pest control contractor in October 2012.

The business was allowed to reopen following a raft of improvements.

Kaveri Express of Sudbury Heights Avenue, Greenford, was also closed after officers dropped in on them unannounced. Kaveri Express manufactures food and supplies it to restaurants.

Officers found the premises to be badly infested with cockroaches. They also found evidence of a mouse infestation and saw a live mouse during their inspection. The food preparation areas were also found to filthy. The premises remains closed until officers are satisfied that it no longer presents a risk to public health.

Councillor Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for community services and safety, said: “These businesses were gambling with the public’s health with their appalling approach to cleanliness. Food safety laws are there to protect consumers and most businesses do comply with them. However, we will always take swift action to protect the public when their health is put at risk.”

Council officers are now considering whether to pursue further legal action against all three businesses.

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