Hygiene inspectors described level of rodent activity as 'extensive'
The cafe in South Wimbledon was closed immediately. Picture: Merton Council
A rat-infested café in South Wimbledon has been shut down to protect locals from food poisoning and Weil’s disease. The Brazilian café prepared food, including salads, meat and rice dishes, in a kitchen riddled with rat droppings.
Merton Council’s environmental health officers visited Brazucas Point Cafe on 18 May after a complaint from a neighbour about rubbish piled up at the back of the building. They found “extensive rat activity” in the kitchen including droppings in the food preparation area.
Inspectors found kitchen equipment stored on the floor and also contaminated with droppings. There was also nowhere for staff to wash their hands.
To make matters worse, the café had not registered with the council as a food business. The infestation posed an “imminent risk to public health” and the café was closed down immediately.
Rat dropping were found in the kitchen of Brazucas Point Cafe. Picture: Merton Council
Inspectors were concerned about potential food poisoning and infection by bacteria which can cause salmonella and Weil’s disease. The decision to shut down the businesses was formalised at Wimbledon Magistrates Court a week later.
Councillor Eleanor Stringer, cabinet member for civic pride, said, “The sort of disease which can be transmitted by vermin, such as rats, in a kitchen have serious, life-threatening ramifications for unwitting customers.
“I commend the swift action of the Food & Safety team in helping keep the borough safe and for enforcing regulations which clamp down on unscrupulous establishments that don’t play by the rules. We look forward to working to ensure that future businesses based in these premises provide a high-quality service for diners.”
Pictures by inspectors show a dirty sink full of dishes and rubbish, rat droppings on top of cans, chopping boards and surfaces and rubbish, including old furniture piled high at the back of the business.
A A dirty sink at the cafe. Picture: Merton Council
A post on the cafe’s Instagram page reads, “Good morning friends and clients. I hereby inform you that we will be closed for maintenance. Thank you in advance for everyone’s understanding. We will have news …”
There was no answer on the only telephone number available for the closed cafe.
Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
July 18, 2022