Food firm fined pounds 8,000 for dead mouse found in tin of baked beans

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The Independent Online
Robert Howard, of Brockley, south-east London, could not be bothered to cook his baked bean snack. He just opened the tin and tucked in. Pulling out what he thought was a piece of string, he got a shock. At the end of his fork dangled a tomato-sauce sodden mouse.

The food had been prepared by HL Foods in Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, for supermarket giant Sainsbury. Mr Howard had bought the Sainsbury's own-brand baked beans in November last year at the New Cross branch in south London.

Lewisham Council charged HL Foods under the Food Safety Act. On 15 December, Greenwich magistrates fined the company, pounds 8,000.

A Sainsbury's spokesperson said yesterday: "Food safety is one of our top priorities. Any foreign object found in our products is taken very seriously and as soon as we knew there was a problem we launched an investigation with HL Foods." More than 12,000 tins from the same batch have been removed from sale.

The mouse had been boiled in the tin. No one knows exactly how it got in, but since bean starch was found in its stomach during the investigation, clearly greed was its downfall.

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