AN emergency recall has been issued for cakes packaged at a Bolton factory after rat droppings and rotting food was found by inspectors.
The Food Standards Agency has issued the alert, recalling the re-branded and re-labelled cakes, biscuits, sweets, puddings and tarts from Cake Factory Outlet and Clearance Cake Excess, based in Hacken Lane, Darcy Lever.
The factory supplies cakes to markets across the North West.
The recall comes after council officers visited the factory at Riverside Mill — which was not registered with the local authority — and found rotting food and fresh rat droppings inside the unit.
A hygiene emergency prohibition order was granted at Bolton Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The court heard that the unit was inspected in December and was found to be unsuitable to be used as a food business.
It was given a zero food rating and the officer had discussions with the business partners, Paul Lax and Derek Gleave. They were told the business must close and not re-open until the officer was satisfied the risks had gone.
Andrew Morris, prosecuting, told magistrates that earlier this month an officer visited the premises and found the unit appeared to have been broken into.
Attempts were made by the council to contact the partners, but there was no response, and they did not attend the hearing yesterday.
Mr Morris said: “Inside was food rotting and fresh rat droppings among the packaging.”
The company repackages cakes classed as seconds and then sells them to market traders, including those in Clitheroe, Blackburn, and at Manchester Smithfields Market.
Local authorities are now being asked to visit market stalls to see if any of the products are being sold.
The Food Standards Agency said: “The products are reported to have deteriorated, be mouldy, past their ‘best before’ date and contaminated as a result of rat infestation at the premises. It has not been possible to obtain full distribution details or the extent of distribution for the products involved.”
”If you have bought one of the above products, do not eat it, but report it to your local authority.”
The Bolton News visited the premises, but Mr Lax and Mr Gleave were not there and we have been unable to contact them.
Security guard Chris Bentham, aged 50, said: “There were big rats and squirrels in there. We could hear them running about. There are droppings all around the place. There are no electrics and the food in the freezer is rotting and smells like wine when you open it.
“There are cakes outside that have gone mouldy and been there about five months.”
Landlord John Fletcher said Mr Lax and Mr Gleave have not paid the rent.
He added: “They have disappeared and left all the mess behind. I think this is the tip of the iceberg.”