A FOOD producer in Middlesbrough has been forced to close immediately after concerns of poor hygiene standards.

North Yorkshire Farm Produce Ltd, which operates out of 6 Copeland Court on the Riverside Industrial Estate, was served a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order at Teesside Magistrate Court on Tuesday October 19.

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Catherine Cunningham, representing Middlesbrough Council, said that the council’s environmental health officer, Mark Kearns, believed there was a ‘significant risk of [food] contamination and of safety’ at the site which could ‘risk unsafe food being placed on the market.’

The council officer visited the business on October 14 and issued a hygiene emergency prohibition notice due to the state of the property, which was valid for three days but this new order from the court is in place indefinitely.

At the property, Ms Cunningham said that Mr Kearns found decomposing vegetables, insects on the floor, dirty food containers, rubbish in the food preparation room, rusted and damaged tools, and flooding.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “I know that in Middlesbrough the vast majority of food businesses maintain good hygiene and ensure they follow food safety rules.

“Therefore, it is shocking when a business acts irresponsibly and fails to practise basic hygiene, which leaves the Council’s Environmental Health Officers with no option but to take decisive action and shut it down.”

The business must remain closed until the council is satisfied that the health conditions have improved.

Speaking after the order was issued, Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s Head of Public Protection, said: “Foodstuffs at all stages of production must be protected from risks of contamination.

“This requires good standards of cleanliness and effective hygiene management, which were absent at this business.

“The prohibition order issued by the court will prevent anyone from using the premises as a food business and will only be lifted if the owner can demonstrate that the premises comply with food safety and hygiene laws.”

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