Thursday, 11 Aug 2022

Filthy café closed after neighbour tip off about rat infestation

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The officers have said that they found rat droppings on chopping boards and utensils left on the dirty kitchen floor. They also say that they were alerted to the vile state of Brazucas Point Café in Merton High Street, after the council was tipped off by a neighbour. 

Residents complained about rubbish piled up in the backyard of the eatery, which sold food prepared on-site including salads, meat and rice dishes. 

When council officers arrived they found the kitchen being used and evidence rats scurried around the food preparation areas, according to SWNS. On closer inspection, it became clear there was a rat infestation at the premises as excrement was found throughout the kitchen where food was prepared.

Kitchen equipment was also being kept on the floor, which was contaminated with rat droppings. A dirty chopping board used to cut meat was found on the kitchen floor, where rat droppings were seen. Rat faeces was also found on top of a cooking pan lid and next to equipment such as a rolling pin.

A gnawed sachet of tomato ketchup, rat dropping on the lid of a food container and a chewed dish cloth were all found behind a chest freezer. Chewed carboard and dish clothes were also discovered, as the rodents use this material to make their nests.

The cafe was also found to have failed to register as a food business with the council, and there were no facilities for staff to wash their hands to prevent the transmission of diseases. Due to the public health risk, the premise was served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice and forced to immediately stop serving food.

This decision was later ratified at Wimbledon Magistrates Court. A spokesman for Merton Council said that by closing down the cafe, the authority had protected residents from “potential food poisoning and infection by bacteria which can cause salmonella and Weil’s disease”.

Weil’s disease is most commonly a water-borne bacterial infection that can cause muscle pain, a stiff neck, lack of appetite, chills, nausea, vomiting and a fever.

Salmonella can cause diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, chills, headache, nausea, or vomiting and can lead to typhoid fever.

Councillor Eleanor Stringer, cabinet member for civic pride, said after a report into the restaurant was released: “This is a great result for our Regulatory Services Team and for Merton residents. The sort of disease which can be transmitted by vermin, such as rats, in a kitchen have serious, life-threatening ramifications for unwitting customers.

“I commend the swift action of the Food & Safety team in helping keep the borough safe and for enforcing regulations which clamp down on unscrupulous establishments that don’t play by the rules. We look forward to working to ensure that future businesses based in these premises provide a high-quality service for diners.”

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