Food hygiene inspectors have revealed some of the most unpleasant discoveries made during examinations of premises in London in recent months, with one restaurant shut down after a live mouse was found on site.
Two businesses in Southall and one in Greenford were closed following inspections by Ealing Council's food safety team. On each occasion, experts found evidence of rat and mouse infestations, reports the Ealing Gazette.
Punjabi Virsa in Southall was one of those businesses closed down, with inspectors noting it showed a lack of adequate cleaning and there were signs of rats. Universal General Store in Southall was also forced to shut following the discovery of rats, while Kaveri Express in Greenford was the final company to be targeted by controllers.
Councillor Ranjit Dheer, leader for community services and safety, said: "These businesses were gambling with the public's health with their appalling approach to cleanliness.
"Food safety laws are there to protect consumers and most businesses do comply with them. However, we will always take swift action to protect the public when their health is put at risk."
Businesses that work in the food industry should always be aware of their responsibilities, particularly when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene in kitchen areas. Investing in a range of high-quality cleaning products seems a good first step towards tackling any existing problems.
At Kaveri Express, inspectors found a cockroach infestation and filthy food preparation areas. The company's premises remain closed and will not reopen until food hygiene experts have been satisfied that the necessary improvements have been made.
The council is currently weighing up whether it wants to take further legal action against the three businesses in question. If it does, harsher penalties for their hygiene misdemeanours could be applied.
Such instances illustrate that firms hoping to cut corners may lose out in the long run, both in the form of legal punishment and a potential loss of reputation among local consumers.