Palmers Green supermarket fined after pest infestations discovered

Dead rat, mouse and excrement found by council hygiene inspectors at “fresh food” supermarket

Yasar Halim Supermarket in Hedge Lane and (inset) the dead rat and droppings discovered there in 2021
Yasar Halim Supermarket in Hedge Lane and (inset) the dead rat and droppings discovered there in 2021

A Palmers Green supermarket and its owner have been fined a total of £74,000 after dead rodents and droppings were found on the premises.

At Fresh Valley Foods Ltd, trading as Yasar Halim Supermarket in Hedge Lane, Enfield Council’s environmental health officers discovered a dead mouse on a sticky trap in a mezzanine area used to prepare food, along with evidence of rat droppings, while a dead rat and more rat excrement were found in the warehouse and on the shop floor. There was also evidence of fly infestations.

In addition, food preparation areas were not clean or well maintained, despite several warnings to rectify hygiene breaches. Staff handling food were not using the basin for regular handwashing between tasks – with soap not even being provided there.

The hygiene inspections took place in October and November 2021. After the council brought health and safety charges against the company, owner Mehmet Yasar Halim appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court last week and was fined £26,000, while the company itself was ordered to pay £48,000. Further costs they were ordered to pay included a £190 victim surcharge and the council’s investigation costs, totalling £4,400.

A council spokesperson said: “Swift action taken by the council’s environmental health officers in this case was imperative, as the premises and its owner posed a significant risk to public health.

“Repeat visits to Yasar Halim by council officers and warnings issued to clean and make the necessary repairs were ignored on several occasions.

“We would strongly encourage owners of premises selling and serving food in the borough to ensure they follow mandatory guidance for keeping their premises clean, follow essential hygiene rules and to ensure their staff are fully trained in food hygiene procedures.”

Since the conviction, Yasar Halim Supermarket has issued a statement on its social media which points out that it has now improved and was awarded a three-star hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency in June last year.

The statement adds: “Following a routine inspection in October 2021, a number of issues were brought to our attention. Those issues had arisen due to factors experienced by most businesses in the country with the perfect storm of Brexit, the loss of highly skilled migrant workers, and the impact of Covid.

“For 40 years, Yasar Halim Supermarket has provided the highest standards of service and excellence to the community and beyond.

“Yasar Halim would wish to make it clear that at no stage was any member of the public affected by any of the issues.”

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