16 November 2018

Pub turns food hygiene rating into five stars

A Stourbridge pub came back from being fined £17,000 for 12 food hygiene offences to be given a five star rating by South Staffordshire Council.

The failures at The Cat Inn, Enville, which sparked the court case included poor standards of cleaning of the structure and equipment, poor stock control and food handling practices, lack of food hygiene knowledge and risks of contamination.

The case was heard at Cannock magistrates’ court, where the pub operator and the management team admitted the offences. The Cat at Enville Limited, the food business operator, was given a formal caution with prosecution costs of £11,300. The Hicksters Ltd, the pub’s management team, was fined £4,000 with prosecution costs of £2,000 and court costs of £175.

The zero rating followed warnings from food safety officers when they visited and gave the pub just one star in 2016.

But since the findings early last year, the pub, named as CAMRA’s Pub of the Year for 2018 for Dudley and South Staffordshire, has turned its fortunes around, and now has a top-level rating for food hygiene standards, after an unannounced inspection last autumn.

Laura Shirley, Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ health and safety specialist, said: “The pub and its management team were fortunate that they could deal with these fines and learn the lessons of the inspections – many food businesses would have struggled to pay the fines as well as doing the necessary work to put right the problems.

“Customers have a right to expect pubs, restaurants and all food outlets to take care of their food hygiene and food safety – having the right systems in place and sticking to them is vital. When a business becomes careless or complacent, or when staff simply are not made aware of what they need to do, that is often when problems occur.

“Local authority inspection teams can be a source of advice and help, as well as regulating and enforcing the law. They do share an aim with the businesses they regulate – to make sure that customers are happy and safe.”

Laura and the regulatory team can be contacted at lshirley@hcrlaw.com.

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About the Author
Heath Thomas, Partner, Head of Thames Valley Office, Licensing and Regulatory
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