A SWANSEA convenience store has dirtied its food hygiene record and been slapped with a £5,000 fine.
Actseen, the firm which manages Premier Store in Carmarthen Road, Fforestfach, has been found guilty of seven offences relating to food cleanliness after ignoring several previous warnings from Swansea Council's environmental health officers.
The offences were in relation to the Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006, with officers visiting the store in May 2012 as part of a routine food hygiene inspection and discovering a catalogue of problems, including a build-up of food spillages and grease and debris on the walls and floor. Inspectors also found that staff at the shop had not received proper training to handle food safely and responsibly and that the fridges were rusty and dirty.
Further visits by officers between May and July revealed the company had ignored a number of those warnings and as a result formal action was then taken by the council under the current food hygiene legislation.
Martin Saville, council head of public protection, urged other firms not to brush warnings under the carpet if they wanted to avoid escalating any issues and possibly facing prosecution and hefty fines.
"Our teams of officers work tirelessly to promote the importance of food businesses complying with food hygiene and associated legislation.
"If businesses choose to ignore our advice and do not take appropriate steps to protect the safety of their customers, we will not hesitate to take formal action through the courts, as we have done in this particular case."
Actseen pleaded guilty to all seven offences, including not having food safety management systems in place, and the firm was fined £600 for each offence.
The company was also ordered to pay the full costs of £813.28 to the council and £200 legal fees.
All food related businesses in Swansea are inspected regularly by Swansea Council and the results of those inspections, including a food hygiene rating, are then published on the internet so that the public can find out how clean those businesses are, for their own peace of mind.
The latest fines follows those dished out to the company behind city centre restaurant Peachy Keens, after it admitted four charges of breaching food hygiene.
The rating system was introduced by the Food Standards Agency in October 2010 in Wales and it scores all businesses using a rating of 0 to 5. In Swansea, more than 1,200 food businesses, including large restaurants, takeaways and small cafes are included on the dedicated website.
Anyone wishing to view the website to check those ratings for food businesses in Swansea should visit www.food.gov.uk/ratings