Rotting mouse lands Hadleigh Chinese with £5k fine

MOUSE: The decomposing mouse found at China Garden in Hadleigh
MOUSE: The decomposing mouse found at China Garden in Hadleigh

The owner of a Chinese restaurant in Hadleigh has been ordered to pay more than £5,000 after hygiene inspectors found a decomposing mouse in a food store.

Wing Cheung, who owns the China Garden in High Street, appeared before Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday after failing to manage food safety standards on the premises for an extended period of time.

Magistrates heard that hygiene inspectors from Babergh District Council visited the premises for a routine inspection on April 4 and found a number of breaches of the hygiene legislation, including failing to keep the premises clean and to effectively guard against pests.

There was a hole in the wall of the food store, food spillages which would be attractive to rodents had not been cleaned away, and food had been left uncovered, exposing them to a risk of contamination.

The court heard how hygiene inspectors found a partially decomposed dead mouse in the store and that there was also a poor standard of cleaning in the kitchen. It was also discovered that raw food and ready-to-eat foods were not adequately separated, posing a risk of food poisoning.

The Safer Food Better Business pack, which should have been used to manage food safety on the premises, was almost entirely blank.

Wing Cheung pleaded guilty to five offences under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006.

He attributed the failures to his being away from the premises most of the time and being let down by his head chef who should have monitored standards.

He was ordered to pay a fine of £4,250 and council costs of £1,030, and was told by magistrates that they hoped he had learned his lesson and will carry out proper checks on the running of the premises in the future.

Emma Richbell, the council’s senior food and safety officer, said: “Unfortunately, China Garden has had a poor history of compliance with food hygiene legislation and Mr Cheung has continually ignored advice given to him by officers, so when we found the breaches in April we had no option but to prosecute.

“We will continue to work with Mr Cheung and his staff to ensure that satisfactory standards of hygiene are maintained in future.”