Dixi Chicken & Pizza on Victoria Road in Widnes has been closed by Environmental Health Officers from Halton Council following the discovery of a serious rat infestation.
The premises is shared by Cream Curls, a dessert and ice cream business, which is also closed.
Officers carried out an inspection on Monday 22 January following a complaint from a member of the public that they had seen a rat on the premises.
On entering, officers noted a distinctive smell of rat urine, and rat faeces was sighted in the customer waiting area for Cream Curls. Cleaning was found to be poor with rat faeces contaminating many areas of the food premises.
Food had been left uncovered and internal waste bins had not been emptied. Waste food littered the floor, providing a food source for rats.
Rats can carry a numbers of disease-causing organisms that can contaminate food and food contact surfaces. Officers were satisfied the premises posed an imminent risk of injury to health and used emergency powers to close the premises immediately.
On Tuesday 30 January 2024 the Council successfully applied to Warrington Magistrates court for a Prohibition Order which has the effect of closing the premises indefinitely until the infestation has been cleared and the premises no longer poses a risk to health.
A spokesperson for Halton Borough Council said: “Officers found the premises to be in a very poor state with an active rat infestation and a complete breakdown in the basic food hygiene measures that need to be in place to protect consumers.
“The Council will need to be reassured that the infestation has been resolved and the risk to health removed before the premises will be allowed to reopen.
“The vast majority of Halton’s food premises comply with their legal responsibilities with 96% achieving the top 3 hygiene ratings. However the Council will not hesitate to deal robustly with those premises that pose a risk to consumers.”