A SANDWICH business has reopened after addressing concerns about mice in production areas and other hygiene standards.

Middlesbrough-based company Garde Manger by KFS was required to stop production this month and close after concerns over hygiene standards and the shelf life of its products were raised by Middlesbrough Borough Council’s public protection service.

The Lorne Street company was served with a closure notice on January 15 that required it to immediately stop food production.

All sandwiches that had been made at the premises were subsequently removed from sale, the council said.

On Monday, January 20, a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order was granted by Teesside Magistrates’ Court which confirmed the actions of the authority were necessary.

When the premises were visited on January 15 there was evidence of serious and multiple contraventions of food safety and hygiene regulations, including evidence of mouse activity throughout the building, including in “high risk production areas”.

There was also a lack of allergen management, with foods given an extended shelf life with no validation measures in place to ensure the safety of food.

Food was also not being handled in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and there was a lack of food safety management.

The order was lifted on Thursday, and the business allowed to re-open after environmental health officers from the council re-inspected the premises and were satisfied the risks had been addressed and food law requirements were met.

Judith Hedgley, head of public protection at Middlesbrough Borough Council, said: “It is the role of the public protection service, to work with food businesses, to look at food safety practices and the environment where food is handled, stored and processed.

“It is disappointing that enforcement action was necessary in this case to protect public health, however the operator of this business has fully cooperated with the council and quickly addressed the hygiene and food safety matters.

“The business now meets the necessary food hygiene and food safety standards.”

Councillor Dorothy Davison, the council’s executive member for adult services and health, said: “Food manufacturers have a legal duty to produce food that is safe and has been handled under hygienic conditions.

"Where any food business fails to satisfy their legal duty this can result in health risks to consumers.

“The council’s public protection service aims to work closely with our local food businesses however, where poor food standards and serious risks are found, action has to be taken to protect consumer’s health.”

At the hearing on Monday, magistrates told the company to pay costs of £604 to the council before February 17.