Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Starbucks operator fined £4k after customer spots rat in coffee shop

The operators of the Starbucks franchise admitted food hygiene failures. Pic Google.
The operators of the Starbucks franchise admitted food hygiene failures. Pic Google.
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

A Belfast Starbucks operator has been fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs after a customer reported seeing a rat in the cafe.

Ritcin Limited, operators of the Great Victoria Street cafe, pleaded guilty to two food hygiene offences dating back to October 2017.

Owners admitted a failure to protect food from contamination stemming from rodent activity which was likely to render it unfit for human consumption and failure to put in place adequate procedures to control pests.

The prosecution was taken by Belfast City Council following an anonymous complaint from a member of the public.

The company, which closed its premises to address the issues, reopened after a short period when environmental health officers from Belfast City Council were satisfied the risk to public health was removed.

Belfast City Council were also awarded costs of £3,500.

In a statement, Starbucks said: "Ensuring we meet high hygiene standards in all of our stores is a priority for Starbucks. In this instance, we recognise this store fell short and as soon as we became aware of this, we acted quickly to ensure any issues were addressed to reinstate our usual high standards as soon as possible.”

In November 2017 the cafe - one of the city's busiest - was awarded one out of five in the 'Scores on the Doors' hygiene rating.

That remains the rating of the cafe as of Tuesday evening.

Inspectors found management of food safety was in need of a major improvement while "improvement was necessary" in terms of the cleanliness and condition of facilities and the buildings.

Hygienic food handling was deemed "very good".

The latest listing on the 'Scores on the Doors' website - which documents hygiene standards of all food establishments - states the premises has not had an inspection since November 10, 2017.

Of the 12 other Starbucks listed in Belfast on Scores on the Doors all have a rating of five except one on the Lisburn Road which has a rating of four.

Ritcin Limited was also approached for comment.

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