A MERSEYSIDE Pound Bakery has been slammed by food safety inspectors after they found mouse droppings in various places around the shop.

Pound Bakery and Cafe on Princes Pavement in Birkenhead, Wirral was given a hygiene rating of ‘2’ earlier this year after the droppings were discovered in five places – including the display fridge.

A Freedom of Information response from Wirral Council revealed inspectors visited the town centre shop twice – on January 11 and 22, and subsequently gave management a list of problems needing to be remedied.

The firm said there had been “historic issues” with pests in the area, and that it’s working with the council and other businesses to resolve them.

Instructing what was needed to be done, the report by a Wirral Council officer said: “All areas where food is prepared and stored must be clean and be capable of being kept clean. This is so that pests are not attracted into the premises and the risk of food being contaminated by dirt/bacteria is minimised.

“The standard of cleaning to the structure […] requires significant improvement, […] as there was a build-up of grease, dust and food debris. You need to carry out a deep clean and degrease in all these areas.

“All areas must be maintained in a clean condition. You must ensure that sufficient time is allocated to routine and deep cleaning and standards must be checked and adequately supervised.”

Describing the locations of the mousing droppings, the report said at the time of the inspection that:

  • Droppings were found under the stairs next to the safe – along with “spilt/gnawed poison bait”
  • There were a “few” droppings on the floor under the sandwich preparation workbench in the takeaway servery
  • Two droppings were found in the corner of the shop floor area – in the takeaway section adjacent to the display chiller
  • “few” droppings were also found under the counter in the takeaway servery
  • A dropping was visible in the back of the display chiller in the cafe area.

Images released alongside the Pound Bakery report show dirty surfaces, floor areas and various droppings.

It said the most recent pest control visit in January said there were “no signs or further reports of any pest activity”, but that the Pestproof firm had revisited and made recommendations, also laying new monitoring points.

It added: “The poor standard of cleaning encountered on both floors of the premises must be addressed, especially as this is key in preventing and controlling any pest activity.”

Demanding that “excellent” controls are put in place, it advised regular cleaning, repairs and pest proofing – and that food is stored in suitable, closable and pest-proof containers.

The ‘2’ rating indicates that some improvement is necessary.

The report also laid out five improvements the store needed to make:

  • The ventilation extraction system was not operating effectively, “as evidenced by the very clogged greasy filters and the heavy grease and dust deposits on the surrounding fixtures”. It said that needed to be rectified, and “examined by a competent person”.
  • Parts of the floor in the dishwasher area were in poor repair – worn and some of it missing. The shop was told to repair flooring, and inspectors said this was being addressed.
  • Walls in the first floor storeroom needed resealing as the paintwork was “worn and chipped in places”.
  • It told staff to be “fully aware” of pest activity at the shop.
  • It told management to look at the cleaning, maintenance schedules and enhanced pest control checks, adding:” You should ensure you are documenting any problems and what action you have taken to put them right. All staff must be adequately trained and supervised on implementing the company food safety management system in these key areas.”

A spokeswoman for Sayers the Bakers, which has responsibility for the Pound Bakery, said: “We can assure you and your readers that nothing is more important to us than hygiene and food safety and we take immediate action if any issue is raised.

“Concerns were raised from Wirral Council on January 11. The shop’s previous inspections have been rated as good. An action plan was immediately put in place, this included sealing the building from adjacent properties and a thorough clean. The officer returned on January 22 to check on progress and confirmed that conditions had improved. We are now requesting a revisit from the council as we are confident that the shop is now to a high standard.

“There has been historic issues with pests in the shopping centre and market which has effected other businesses. We are working in partnership with the council and other businesses to resolve these. In the meantime we continue to closely monitor this shop to ensure our high standards are maintained.”