Wedding cake chef ‘tried to claim mouse droppings were chocolate sprinkles’, court hears
Westminster City Council inspectors discovered the squalid conditions in Bake and Cake’s basement, in Edgware Road, when they visited the premises on July 17 last year.
As well as the mouse infestation, inspectors found discarded food on the floor, filthy machinery and paint peeling off the walls – leading them to shut the business immediately.
The shop had ignored a warning to clean up its act nine days previously.
Prosecutor Marie-Claire Amuah told Westminster Magistrates Court one inspector found mouse droppings embedded in the circular disk used to add writing to cakes
“When she queried this to the chef, he stated the mouse droppings were chocolate vermicelli used as decoration on cakes and buns,” she said.
And it didn’t stop there: further searches revealed every room of the basement of the bakery had evidence of mice infestation.
Inspectors found sawdust next to an electrical junction box, which may have been a nesting area, and fresh excrement just inches from pre-prepared pastry, bags of flour and chocolate icing.
Bake and Cake, owned by Bon Croissant Ltd, underwent a £5,000 clean-up, reopened and regained its level three hygiene rating last month.
Former manager Hussein Hassan, 43, was fined £300 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,300 after he admitted five health and safety breaches.
District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe hit the company much harder after it failed to produce any evidence of turnover and the owner flew off on holiday instead of attending the hearing, with a fine of £5,000, an £100 victim surcharge and prosecution costs of £1,319.50.
Bake and Cake also pleaded guilty to five counts of contravening a provision of the food hygiene regulations.