Sainsburys Fined For Failing To Deal With Rat Problem

Sainsbury’s has been ordered to pay nearly £27,000 after an infestation of rats was discovered at its store in Newbury, Berkshire, in 2008.
The supermarket chain was taken to court by West Berkshire Council after the problem was made public by a representative of the workers union, Usdaw, following no attempt by store bosses to rectify the rat problem.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching health regulations at Reading Magistrates Court earlier this week and was ordered to pay a £4,000 fine and £22,800 to cover the council’s legal costs.
Keith Ulyatt, spokesman for West Berkshire Council, said: ” Environmental Health Officers found severe soiling in terms of rat droppings and urine, and damage to the building where rats had gained entrance.
“The offence date was the 9th of January 2008 and took place at the ‘goods inwards’ part of the warehouse at the rear of the store.”
“Inspections were carried out on that date following complaints to the council from staff union reps at the store.”
Union area organiser Mike Parsonage said staff were concerned that they were coming into daily contact with all sorts of things that had rat urine and droppings on them, increasing the risk of disease.
He added: “I wrote to the company advising them that they had a rat problem. They wrote back to me and said that it had been dealt with when they hadn’t actually done anything at all.”
“At that stage it was reported to Environmental Health . We felt that it was in members’ interest and the interest of customers as well.”
After the court hearing, Sainsburys spokesman Tom Parker said: “We take matters of food hygiene very seriously and employ the highest quality standards at all our stores.”
“We are sorry that our high standards at all our stores were not met on this occasion and are taking measures to help prevent this happening again.”