July 31 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 17°C

Five-day forecast

Major health food chain Holland & Barrett has been fined £30,000 after mouse droppings were found between packets of popcorn on sale at an Islington branch.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

The firm was accused of “putting the public’s health at risk” after inspectors also found rat faeces at the Upper Street store, along with shelves and packets that were sticky with what is thought to be mouse urine.

There was a strong odour of mouse urine, they said, while packs of nuts and seeds had been gnawed open.

The company was handed a bill of £32,342 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to seven food hygiene offences at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court last week.

Horrified shopper Katie Shuford, 26, said: “That’s awful, especially considering it’s a health food store.

“I’ll have to take my business elsewhere.”

The catalogue of breaches came to light when Islington Council environmental health officers carried out surprise inspections on November 24 and December 1 and 2 last year.

The offences included contamination and failures to keep the premises clean, to ensure adequate procedures to control pests and to train staff properly.

On the first visit, inspectors found mouse droppings on shelves and underneath counters, but it appears little was done to improve the situation.

More mouse faeces were found on both following visits, some in between packets of popcorn, as well as rat droppings in a stockroom on December 1.

Instructions to put food packets in lidded containers were ignored.

Cllr Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “By ignoring our environmental health officers’ repeated interventions, the store put the public’s health at risk.

“The size of the fine shows how seriously the judge took this breach of public health.”

A Holland & Barrett spokesman said: “We are deeply disappointed in the failings in our risk management systems which allowed this to happen.

“Health and safety remains a priority for our customers and employees, and we hope to have significantly moved on since this event.”

Share this article

0 comments

   Local advertisers

More News articles

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Islington Gazette on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Islington businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Islington Gazette, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Celebrity / Showbiz See all

Drake has cancelled his Wireless London performance (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for ESPN)

Fans devastated after Drake cancels Wireless London festival

Rapper Drake has pulled out of his headline appearances at this weekend’s Wireless Festival in London, leaving fans devastated.

Read full story »