Food store directors fined for safety and hygiene breaches

Officers found the dirty store had food not labelled properly and stored at unsafe temperatures
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Raw meat and dirty conditions found by environmental health officers at MAM African and European Foods Ltd on West Road in Newcastle on July 20, 2022

A food store and its two directors have been fined thousands of pounds after the premises was found to be covered in dirt and food wasn’t properly labelled, which could have put customers with food allergies at risk.

Environmental health officers from Newcastle City Council visited MAM African and European Foods Ltd on the West Road in Newcastle on July 20, 2022.

Officers discovered the structure of the building was in a poor condition and dirt covered the ceiling and the floor, as well as the fridges and freezers.

Dead flies were found on the floor in the storage area, while food was stored at unsafe temperatures and some items did not display the correct allergen information.

The officers discovered raw meat was being prepared in the same area as fresh fruit and vegetables without any safety measures to prevent cross-contamination.

And the same equipment was being used to cut and weigh food, some of which contained ingredients that could have put customers with food allergies at risk.

The staff were also found to be operating with no cleaning procedures or systems in place and they had little knowledge of what these should be.

The business was ordered to make improvements but a further food hygiene inspection on March 22, 2023 found no action had been taken to address the issues.

MAM African and European Foods Ltd pleaded guilty to six environmental and food hygiene offences, including failure to implement and maintain a food safety management system, failure to adhere to allergen labelling requirements and fly-tipping waste.

Its directors, Nsamba Kanu and Moses Kanu, who is also the food business operator, both admitted to failing to implement and maintain a food safety management system.

Nsamba Kanu also pleaded guilty to breaching a Hygiene Prohibition Order, after she was banned from partaking in the management of a food business in 2014.

At Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on January 25, the business was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £3,691 in costs.

Nsamba Kanu was fined £849 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £340, while Moses Kanu was fined £300 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120.

In mitigation, the court heard Moses Kanu acknowledged the condition of the store was unacceptable and following the inspections, new procedures had been put in place such as a new cleaning system.

Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Irim Ali, Cabinet member for a Dynamic City at Newcastle City Council, said: “The safety and wellbeing of people is our top priority and we expect all food businesses to uphold the highest food safety and hygiene standards.

“Clearly in this instance, standards had been allowed to slip far below what is acceptable and people’s health could have been put at risk.

“I welcome the result of this prosecution and hope it serves as a warning to other businesses that we will not hesitate to take action if they fail to comply with the standards expected of them and show a disregard for the safety of their customers.”