Former operator of village store fined almost £20,000 for food hygiene offences

The former operator of a grocery store in Burnham has been fined after Environmental Health officers found they had repeatedly broken hygiene laws.

Odedra Brothers Limited, who ran Burnham Village Store in High Street, Burnham, Buckinghamshire, until February 2018, were found guilty of eight charges of food hygiene offences at Wycombe Magistrates' Court on Friday (14th December).

They were fined £16,000 and required to pay costs of £3,250 plus a victim surcharge fee of £125.

South Bucks District Council Environmental Health Officers visited Burnham Village Store last year after receiving an allegation that mouldy food and food with expired use-by dates was being sold.

The Environmental Health Officers found many items past their use-by date on sale along with mouldy food.

These items were voluntary surrendered at the time of the visit.

Advice was given to the former operator but they failed to rectify the problem.

More complaints were received and out of date food was found on two further separate occasions.

Officers found that lack of suitable training and supervision of staff, lack of adequate management systems, poor hand hygiene and ineffective cleaning exacerbated the problems.

The former operator of the store was prosecuted and appeared in court on Friday.

The District Judge noted the company had no previous convictions and had played a role in the community and contributed to charities. However, she recognised that concerns had been raised with the former operator and they had failed to make the necessary changes to improve the situation.

The former operator was ordered to pay nearly £20,000 in fines and costs.

Burnham Village Store has since been taken over by a new operator. It was inspected again in July this year and now has the highest rating possible; 5 (Very Good).

Cllr Patrick Hogan, South Bucks District Council Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health, said: "In South Bucks most food businesses have good or very good food hygiene standards. When we find there are problems, officers endeavour to work with businesses to help them improve but when they fail to follow advice, we have to use formal action, as in this case. I'm pleased to report that the new operators of Burnham Village Store have achieved a very good food hygiene rating."