Fresh Valley Foods Ltd, trading as Yasar Halim Supermarket, and its owner have been fined a total of £74,000 for breaching hygiene, pest control and contamination regulations.
On Tuesday 21 March 2023, the company which has a supermarket located in Hedge Lane, Palmers Green was fined £48,000 and owner Mehmet Yasar Halim was ordered to pay £26,000 at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, after an Enfield Council investigation.
Further costs included a £190 victim surcharge and the Council’s costs totalling £4,400.62.
Mehmet Yasar Halim pleaded guilty of not having a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), which is a way of managing food safety hazards, no control over pests and no protection against contamination, despite several visits and warnings from Enfield Council’s Environmental Health officers.
The supermarket and owner received a detailed report from the Council on the improvements that needed to be made to the premises, however both rat and fly infestations including droppings were still present during follow-up visits from officers.
A dead mouse on a sticky trap was seen in the mezzanine area which is used to prepare food, along with further evidence of rat droppings.
A dead rat and rat droppings were found in Yasar Halim’s warehouse and on the shop floor.
In addition, food preparation areas were not clean and maintained in good repair and condition, despite several warnings to rectify the breaches.
Staff handling food were not using the hand wash basin for regular handwashing in between tasks and soap for handwashing was not provided.
Yasar Halim is a large, continental-style supermarket with an open, high-risk, cooked food area, a bakery, a butcher’s counter and supermarket area with pre-packed foods, open containers of olives and fruit and vegetables.
An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “Swift action taken by the Council’s Environmental Health officers in this case was imperative, as the premises and its owner posed a significant risk to public health.
“Repeat visits to Yasar Halim by Council officers and warnings issued to clean and make the necessary repairs were ignored on several occasions.
“We would strongly encourage owners of premises selling and serving food in the borough to ensure they follow mandatory guidance for keeping their premises clean, follow essential hygiene rules and to ensure their staff are fully trained in food hygiene procedures.”
The Council’s Environmental Health team first visited the Yasar Halim supermarket in Hedge Lane, Palmers Green on 27 and 28 October 2021, and found several breaches of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations, 2013.
The premises were found to have failed to comply with the requirements to put in place and maintain a permanent procedure to ensure that food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene in line with their work.
A further visit by Council officers to the premises on 9 November 2021, found that warnings had been ignored from their previous visit, so Mehmet Yasar Halim was first summoned to appear before Highbury Magistrates’ Court on 24 November 2022.