Spirit pub fined over hygiene breaches

Related tags Food hygiene Councillor Food

Spirit Group has been fined £17,500 for seven breaches of food hygiene rules at an Edinburgh pub.The managed pub operator, owned by Punch Taverns,...

Spirit Group has been fined £17,500 for seven breaches of food hygiene rules at an Edinburgh pub.

The managed pub operator, owned by Punch Taverns, has changed the licensee at the Tickled Trout pub after an inspection by environmental health officers (EHOs) last September led to the hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

After the hearing, the councillor responsible for hygiene at Edinburgh City Council praised the court for imposing a fine which recognised the 'severity' of the offences.

The court heard that the EHOs, from the Services for Communities department of Edinburgh City Council, visited the pub after a complaint from a member of the public.

In the kitchen they found that a plate had been glued over a hole in the wall in a bid to keep rats out of the kitchen.

They also found the kitchen and equipment in dirty conditions, with no soap or hand towels provided to the wash hand basin in the kitchen. There were mouldy strawberries stored inside a fridge.

Problems also included inadequate provision for storage and disposal of food waste, food not being suitably protected from risk of contamination, and untrained staff handling food.

Spirit Group pleaded guilty to all seven charges, and was fined £2,500 on each count.

A Spirit spokesperson said: "We take our responsibilities for health and food hygiene extremely seriously and regret that on this occasion we did not meet our own high standards.

"Since the inspection last September we have made considerable improvements to the Tickled Trout, which have been recognised and approved by local environmental health officers. The pub is also under new management."

The court heard that after the inspection, immediate action was taken by the pub's management to comply with food hygiene and safety requirements, with a programme of revisits by EHOs until a satisfactory level of compliance was attained. A file on the pub was then sent to the Procurator Fiscal's office, which decided a prosecution was justified.

Sheriff Elizabeth Jarvie said: "I have taken into account the steps the company has taken to ensure this does not happen again, but I must also consider the nature and extent of the offence." found Spirit Group Limited guilty of seven offences under food hygiene and safety legislation and issued fines of £2,500 per offence, totaling £17,500.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, executive member for environment at the council said: "This case should stand as a clear warning to all restaurants and catering establishments that we will not hesitate to take legal action in order to protect the health of consumers.

"The council's environmental health staff rigorously enforce food safety regulations to ensure that any food purchased in the city is safeguarded by the highest possible standards.

"We are grateful that the Sheriff reflected the severity of the offence with the fine imposed."

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