Popular Birmingham café fined over food hygiene offences


A popular Birmingham café has been fined £7,000 for seven offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 and Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 at Birmingham Magistrates Court today (5 August 2015).

Canalside Café Ltd, based in Worcester Bar, near Gas Street – which pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing (22 June 2015) – was also ordered to pay £880 in costs.

Valerie Jane Hall, sole director of Canalside Café Ltd, was also fined £1,050 and ordered to pay £880 in costs.  She has also been prohibited from running a food business, which means she will have to employ someone else to run the café.

Birmingham City Council brought the case after environmental health officers visiting the café on 17 September 2014 found a number of food items for sale that were past their use-by date.

Extensive building works were being carried out at the premises during this revisit, following an initial food inspection conducted on 9 July 2014, and officers found on both occasions, dirty equipment as well as structural problems and a lack of adequate cleaning throughout.

There was also no evidence of a documented food safety management system: staff had no understanding of food safety hazards, there were no procedures for date checks, no evidence of food hygiene training, methods of pest control or a cleaning schedule.

When interviewed by officers on 22 October 2014, Hall admitted the conditions at the premises were not acceptable, but added the works were being done to improve conditions previously found at the café.

She added that staff working at the café during the September 2014 visit had been disciplined and further work was being carried to remedy issues identified by officers at that time.

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “Officers inspecting Canalside Café Ltd, on 17 September 2014 found a number of foods past their ‘use-by’ date, in addition to dirty equipment and no evidence of food safety procedures and practices being effectively implemented.

“This café has a prime location on the city’s canal network, close to its busy entertainment district and as with all restaurants in Birmingham, people should be able to have confidence in the safety of its food and the cleanliness of its kitchen.

“We want the city’s food businesses to thrive and as such our officers work closely with premises to ensure they achieve the necessary standards required to operate safely.”

Following these inspections officers felt that while improvements were required, there was no imminent risk to public health, therefore Canalside Café Ltd was allowed to remain open to diners during this investigation and the business continues to trade.