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Tearoom inspection found mouldy food 'unfit for human consumption'

PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:46 12 December 2019

Munnings Tearoom in Lavenham  Picture: GOOGLE

Munnings Tearoom in Lavenham Picture: GOOGLE

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A tearoom owner has been hit with a bill for almost £3,000 after inspectors uncovered mouldy food deemed unfit for human consumption.

Everyl Madell admitted contravening food safety requirements and failing to comply with EU hygiene provisions at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Monday.

David Smithet, prosecuting for Babergh District Council, said the infractions were discovered during a routine food hygiene inspection of Munnings Tearoom, in Lavenham, by enforcement officer Jane Gartland on May 25.

He said the inspection revealed out-of-date coleslaw and sour cream, mould covered soup, and a failure to implement procedures based on hazard and critical control point principles at the business - located in a 15th century timber framed property, known as the Crooked House.

"There was no soap at the hand wash basin, and a failure to manage fridge temperature, assure adequate stock rotation, prevent pests from entering an open window, and ensure staff were adequately supervised," added Mr Smithet, who pointed out that Madell had received a caution in 2016.

"This wasn't an enterprise unknown to authorities," he said.

"She was warned about health and safety regulations - and that breaches could potentially harm customers.

"She was warned about serving food beyond its use-by date, and requirements to prevent pests from entering food areas."

The 69-year-old owner declined to attend a voluntary interview but accepted the findings of inspectors in email exchanges before the hearing.

Mr Smithet added: "In fairness to Mrs Madell, she indicated it was a small operation, and that it was difficult to arrange for staff to undertake training.

"Perhaps by good fortune, there were no reports of health issues from customers passing through the establishment.

"I'm pleased to say that all food hygiene improvement notices have been complied with."

Madell, who told the court she would be closing the business in January, was fined £1,300 and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs.

The local authority had given the tearoom a zero food hygiene ratings in the same month as the inspection.

At the time, Madell said the rating was "totally unnecessary" and that she planned to put the business on the market next year.

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