A BRANCH of fast food giant KFC has been fined £4000 after a mouse infestation which bosses blamed on the city’s trams project.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how staff at the Leith Walk restaurant tried in vain to eliminate the pests from their premises.
Environmental health officers found mouse droppings close to where drinking straws were stored and contaminated areas near where food had been prepared.
The restaurant’s operators – MBCC Food Ltd, of Livingston, West Lothian, entered pleas of guilty to two charges of contravening food safety laws.
During the hearing, it also emerged the business received around £11,000 in compensation from tram firm TIE for the disruption caused by the work.
Depute procurator fiscal Anna Murphy told the court that inspectors paid the restaurant a visit on June 16 last year.
She said: “The manager of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant accompanied the inspectors around the store premises. The inspectors found several instances of mice contamination throughout the shop.
“In the kitchen, they found mouse droppings and food sitting close by.”
Defence advocate Susan Duff said the restaurant started having problems with mice soon after work on tram lines began in April 2008.
Mrs Duff told the court that the construction work caused the restaurant’s takings to fall 40 per cent. It also caused the mouse population to seek new homes. Some mice decided to head for the KFC branch, she said. Staff tried to eliminate the vermin problem but failed.
Mrs Duff added: “It caused disruption to the habitation of mice in the area. The mice being displaced were attracted towards the local shops. Trams in Edinburgh compensated MBCC Foods for £11,000.
“I must stress that the food in the kitchen were fully wrapped in plastic and not in contact with the mice. ”
Sheriff Neil MacKinnon fined MBCC Foods £4000
A spokesperson for the franchisee that operates KFC in Edinburgh, said: “Hygiene is of the utmost importance to KFC which is why we contacted the council and specialists about the issue. We accept our responsibilities on this matter and have reminded staff of our strict standards and will be working closely with the authorities and other businesses affected by the tram works to address the issue.”
Earlier this year, the News reported how inspectors had closed a city chip shop for the third time in three years, with the owner blaming the tram works for a mouse infestation.
Carlo Crolla, owner of the Clifton Fish and Chicken Bar, in Haymarket, insisted the works were responsible for the “nightmare” in which dead rodents were found onsite.