London Borough of Merton’s environmental health (commercial) section are celebrating after Tesco Stores Ltd were fined over £30,000 at Wimbledon Magistrates Court on Wednesday 10 November for breaches of the Food Safety Act, food safety regulations and the food labelling regulations at its premier store in New Malden, Surrey.
It is one of the largest fines Tesco have received in recent years for environmental health and trading standards matters. The fine and costs were made in respect of failings at its premier store in New Malden, which has one of the highest turnovers in the country. The company was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of £5,550.
The council was aware of a long history of problems at the store due to numerous consumer complaints and continuous problems identified by inspections. Complaints included selling mouldy food, the discovery of rodent faeces and failure to pest proof its storage areas.
The store failed to act on the advice of environmental health officers on how to rectify the problems and therefore the council took the store to court. Tesco Stores Ltd were sentenced by Wimbledon Magistrates Court on Wednesday 10 November 2004.
Councillor Linda Kirby, Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Quality, said: “I am delighted that we were successful in our prosecution of supermarket giant, Tesco. All stores have a responsibility to ensure hygiene and safety standards are met and Tesco is no exception. Our environmental health officers will continue to regularly monitor the store.”
There have already been significant changes at the store and changes to the store’s management.
Notes to editors
A breakdown of the fines is as follows:
· £5,000 for selling an apple turnover on 28.05.03
The product was unfit for human consumption as it was contaminated with mould both on the pastry and within the cream. It was sold to a customer seven days past its expiry date.
· £4,000 for selling Thai sticky rice on 9.9.04
This ready meal was unfit for human consumption as it was contaminated with mould.
· £5,000 for failing to keep its premises clean and maintained and in good repair and condition on 13.11.03
This included a failure to ensure its storage areas, cage marshalling area and a marquee area were properly pest proofed, the discovery of rodent faeces and food which had been gnawed by rodents and the existence of food and water sources within easy reach of rodents. The position was no better when the council revisited the p