The owners of the Luton-based bakery – Mr Sunderam Premanand and his wife Mrs Sathiabama Premanand – were prosecuted at the local Magistrates Court on 14 January.
The court imposed a banning order on each defendant and fines totaling £38,000 ($60,176) and the defendants were also ordered to pay Council costs of £1,908 ($3,024).
Meads Bakery produces bread, rolls and pastry items at its premises in Luton for distribution to small retailers throughout the area and neighboring counties.
Food safety officers had visited the premises eight times between February 2012 and January 2013, each time finding evidence of “appalling hygiene conditions”, Luton Borough Council said.
The council said advice to improve hygiene standards went ignored.
During visits, officers noted thick black mold on walls, ceilings and fridge shelves, so thick in places that the word ‘office’ had been scrawled into it on one wall.
There was evidence of pests including fruit flies, maggots nesting inside bread baskets and two dead mice on the floors. Food debris and pools of dirty water were found on the floors along with flaking paint above preparation tables.
Food was found stored in damaged containers and food safety officers noted that workers on the premises did not know how to clean or disinfect.
Mr Premanand previously operated the business as a sole trader and was fined £10,000 ($15,836) in 2011 for similar hygiene offences.
‘One of the worst we have ever come across’
Councilman Mohammed Ashraf, portfolio holder for public health, welcomed the court’s decision to ban the owners from managing a food business in the future.
“This is very much an isolated case and one of the worst we have ever come across. I am pleased that they have been severely punished for their blatant disregard of hygiene laws,” Ashraf told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“The Council will not tolerate anyone putting public health at risk. Taking the action we did in this case ensures that this reputation isn’t tarnished,” he continued.
The councilman said this case was not a reflection of hygiene standards in the area and that Luton has a number of high quality and safe businesses.
Not a lost premises
A spokesperson for Luton Borough Council told this site: "We have worked with a new food business operator who has rectified the cleaning and pest control issues. He has registered and is due to re-open today."
"This is a completely new operator with no association whatsoever with Meads Bakery. The new operator is Hot Buns Bakery," he said.