Pub slapped with £6.7k bill for ‘flies, filthy cloths and mouldy food’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Danger to public health: council inspectors visited the pub first in October 2018
Danger to public health: council inspectors visited the pub first in October 2018

Related tags Food hygiene

A pub has been convicted and sentenced after pleading guilty to a slew of food hygiene offences including flies, dirty worktops and “filthy” cloths.

The hearing of the White Hart, at Cullompton, was held on Thursday 27 February at Exeter Magistrates’ Court.

Officers from the Mid Devon District Council’s public health team visited the pub in October 2018 and were met with the smell of rotting food and flies in the kitchen.


The pub was only allowed to fully reopen once considerable work had taken place to improve standards and while it was closed down again in July 2019 after standards deteriorated once again, the pub fully reopened again in December last year and currently has a food-hygiene rating of zero.

Risk of contamination

The six offences were: failure to keep the food premises clean, maintained in good repair and condition; and failure to effectively clean and disinfect articles, fittings and equipment with which, food comes into contact at a frequency sufficient to avoid any risk of contamination.

There was also failure to store raw materials and ingredients in appropriate conditions designed to prevent harmful deterioration and protect them from contamination by deteriorating food stored in the kitchen.

As well as failure to remove food waste from rooms where food is present as quickly as possible to avoid the accumulation with waste food, debris and packaging left out, accumulating on top of and under worktops and appliances, and an open and overflowing waste bin.

The fifth offence was failure to protect food against any contamination in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect it to be consumed in that state.


Poor state

This council said this was owing to the poor state of the kitchen with dirty worktops, equipment and utensils; filthy wiping cloths on worktops used in food preparation; flies on work surfaces; no means of allowing the hygienic washing of hands before handling of food; the storing of food uncovered leading to the presence of mould or purification of foods; and the microbiological examination of food with unsatisfactory results. This included wiping cloths present with E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae.

The sixth offence was failure to put in place, implement and maintain a food safety management system based on hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) principles with the absence and false recording of management checks.

The judge agreed a fine of £3,600, which was reduced because of the early guilty plea, along with prosecution costs of £3,000 and a victim surcharge, totalling £6,700.

Cabinet member for community wellbeing Dennis Knowles said: “We’re committed to ensuring food standards remain high throughout Mid Devon to safeguard our residents and visitors, and we won’t hesitate to utilise the full range of regulatory interventions available to us when tackling high-risk, illegal or poor-performing food businesses.

“Given the severity of the conditions in this particular case, our public health and legal teams did an excellent job intervening and bringing about a closure, followed by a successful prosecution, thereby preventing any members of the public from becoming extremely ill or, worse still, losing their lives.”

Related topics Health & safety

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