Pub of the year bosses fined £17k over hygiene failures

An award-winning pub was found with a series of hygiene failures, landing bosses with a £17,000 court bill.

The Cat Inn, in Stourbridge, has since been reinspected and re-rated with a five rating following the fines
The Cat Inn, in Stourbridge, has since been reinspected and re-rated with a five rating following the fines

Inspectors uncovered a range of failures at The Cat in Enville, near Stourbridge – which was slapped with a zero food hygiene rating.

The officers from South Staffordshire Council found a dirty kitchen and a risk of contamination when they visited the well-known pub, which was named CAMRA Dudley and South Staffordshire Pub of the Year for 2018

The food business operators have been made to pay £17,475 including court costs after pleading guilty to 12 breaches of food safety and hygiene regulations at Cannock Magistrates Court in September.

Improved

The Cat at Enville Limited, the food business operator, was given a formal caution with prosecution costs of £11,300. While The Hicksters Limited, the management team for the public house, was fined £4,000 with prosecution costs of £2,000 and court costs of £175.

The premises has since been reinspected and re-rated with a five rating.

Councillor Roger Lees, deputy leader and cabinet member for regulatory services, said: “As a result of this successful prosecution, this business has improved inmeasurably and is now following all the guidelines and standards on food safety.

“All food business operators need to ensure safe food is produced and sold to customers and the council’s environmental health team is authorised to take action where it finds non-compliance and especially repeated failures.

“The team can offer guidance and works with hundreds of businesses across South Staffordshire to check that food businesses in the district comply with food hygiene legislation.

"While the majority of businesses do comply, we will not hesitate to take formal action through the courts when we consider it necessary.”

The food safety officers from South Staffordshire Council visited the public house in February 2017 to carry out the routine food inspection and found numerous failings and unacceptable conditions – including poor standards of cleaning to the structure and equipment, poor stock control and food handling practices, lack of food hygiene knowledge and risks of contamination.

The conditions were so bad that the business scored a zero food hygiene rating, indicating urgent improvement was necessary.

An officer had found similar issues at the business at a previous inspection back in February 2016, when the business had scored a rating of one.

At the time, considerable advice and guidance was given to bosses to improve the standards.

After its zero rating, the council’s environmental health team served food hygiene improvement notices on the pub to improve conditions.

After it was reinspected, the pub was awarded a five rating (very good) after an unannounced visit by inspectors in September 2017.

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