Hotel fined for food hygiene breaches

A PLUSH hotel which caters for weddings and private parties has been fined tens of thousands of pounds for a string of food hygiene breaches branded the worst case seen “in a long time” by council inspectors.

Laurence Cawley

A PLUSH hotel which caters for weddings and private parties has been fined tens of thousands of pounds for a string of food hygiene breaches branded the worst case seen “in a long time” by council inspectors.

Mildenhall's three-star Riverside Hotel, which dates back to the 1720s, has 22 bedrooms and is nestled along the banks of the River Lark.

But when two food inspectors from Forest Heath District Council carried out a routine visit in January last year they found food unfit for human consumption, dirty seals on a fridge, a dirty oven and an open waste bin near pots and pans.


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Owned by Oxford Hotels and Inns Management, the hotel was fined �18,000 in total for six food hygiene breaches, �12,000 for “putting unsafe food into the market place” and billed �8,000 for the costs of the case by magistrates in Bury St Edmunds.

The hotel chain, which admitted all of the offences, said it was an “isolated incident” and told how food safety and hygiene were of “utmost importance” to the company.

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Speaking after the case, the council's principal environmental health officer Tom Wright said it was the worst case of hygiene breaches his team had seen during their careers.

“It was the poorest anybody has ever seen and not just in Suffolk,” Mr Wright said. “It's the first time in five or six years that we found food items which were unfit (for human consumption) and had to be condemned the next day.”

He told how the case came about after two junior staff members carried out a routine visit. When the officers went to the kitchen they started to unearth a number of issues and called in a more senior inspector. After the visit the hotel closed voluntarily for a day while staff brought the kitchens up to the required standard.

Mr Wright said: “We have done return inspections and they have managed to maintain their standards.”

He said such breaches of standards were very rare.

Sarah Hall, spokeswoman for Oxford Hotels, said: “We accept the decision made by the court. We would like to stress to our customers that this was an isolated incident almost two years ago caused by a local management failing and following a comprehensive internal investigation, swift and decisive action has already been taken against those found to be responsible.

“Food safety and hygiene is of utmost importance to us and strict guidelines and procedures are implemented at all times. We have been working closely with the relevant authorities to review all of our processes and as a result, have made further improvements to the already rigorous monitoring and audit measures in place at the hotel.”

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