News Walthamstow

Primary school caterer fined £40,000 over kitchen infestation

Both the catering company and the school’s trust pleaded guilty to food hygiene violations
By Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor

St Saviour's CoE Primary School (credit: Google Streetview)
St Saviour’s CoE Primary School (credit: Google Streetview)

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the school involved was St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, a different school run by the same trust.

The caterer for a Walthamstow primary school was fined £40,000 today after “ingrained dirt and mouse droppings” were found in the school’s kitchen.

Food hygiene inspectors from Waltham Forest Council visited St Saviour’s Church of England Primary School in Verulam Avenue in October 2020.

They found mouse droppings on the floor, inside machinery and on a shelf. A chef also showed them a report from four months earlier which began “mice?” but had not been acted upon.

Both the school’s multi-academy trust Genesis and its caterer The Pantry admitted to breaching food hygiene violations at Thames Magistrates Court today, although Genesis will be sentenced at an as-yet undecided date.

Ordering The Pantry to pay £41,478 in fines and costs, magistrates’ bench chair Sharon Higgins said she and her colleagues had placed the offences in the worst category of hygiene breaches.

This story is published by Waltham Forest Echo, Waltham Forest's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

She said: “This is a situation where there was ingrained dirt and mouse droppings which had not been monitored properly

“It was a vulnerable client group and there was a lack of systems for food preparation, which was really poor in the circumstances.”

The Pantry’s head of operations Anthony Swaby told magistrates the infestation was “terrible” but that the company had “accepted responsibility”.

He added: “It is worth saying the concerns were reported [to Genesis] and not actioned. The responsibility of the pest control is contractually not The Pantry’s responsibility, but we should have highlighted it at the time, there’s nothing much to say to excuse that.

“The business has a small margin and it’s all to be put back into the community.”  

A lawyer for Genesis requested the trust be sentenced at a later date as it needed more time to prepare a statement from its chief financial officer.

Both Genesis Education Trust and The Pantry admitted two counts of failing to comply with EU provisions concerning food safety and hygiene.

Genesis is an “independent church multi academy trust” that also manages St Mary’s Primary School, Walthamstow, and St Margaret’s, Barking.

No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month.  £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or annually 

More Information about donations