Fishmonger in court for poor food hygiene

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM A fishmonger yesterday admitted breaches of health and safety regulations and poor food hygiene practices at his town centre shop.

CHRISTINE CUNNINGHAM

A fishmonger yesterday admitted breaches of health and safety regulations and poor food hygiene practices at his town centre shop.

Michael Strong, 55, of Queens Way, North Walsham, admitted two offences involving breaching health and safety regulations, and three of breaching food safety legislation at his shop in the town's Market Place.

The offences were discovered during an inspection at North Walsham Fishmongers on May 23 last year.

Strong appeared at Norwich Crown Court and admitted failing to ensure the health and safety of his employees by not maintaining exposed electrical terminals.

He also admitted leaving the floor to the freezer covered in ice causing an unnecessary slip risk.

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Strong also admitted having storage cabinets which were stained, corroded and dirty, with broken shelving.

And there were two offences of not having a food safety management system - allowing the build-up of ice in the walk-in freezer, and poor condition of the walls and ceiling in the rear preparation area.

Strong was bailed to await a pre-sentence report and is due to be sentenced on September 26.

Afterwards North Norfolk District Council, which brought the prosecution, said the decision to take the matter to court followed Strong's repeated failure to respond positively to guidance and help offered by the council's environmental health department.

The conditions in the shop risked the health and safety of his employees and posed a risk to customers.

Cabinet member for the environment Brian Hannah said the council would take robust action to protect the health of residents and visitors.

"The reputable businesses in north Norfolk can also be reassured that we do offer them support where it is needed, but will not hesitate in taking action against those who disregard the law."

In June last year, a large quantity of fish from Strong's shop was destroyed after being condemned by Cromer magistrates as unfit for human consumption.

The court heard that fish was out of date, and suffering freezer burns making its dried-up surface more vulnerable to bacteria and contamination from melting ice.

At the time, he told the court the fish involved was intended for fishing bait rather than human consumption. More than 200kg of fish, including Dover sole, herring, lobster, salmon and cod roe were destroyed - but officers were asked to delay their action until after market day to minimise adverse publicity for the shop.

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