A TONNE of food must be destroyed — because it was being packaged in a warehouse infested with pigeons.

Bolton Council applied for a food condemnation order at Bolton Magistrates Court after environmental health officials found the food and packaging belonging to Barkat Food Store Bolton Ltd covered with pigeon droppings, which they said caused “substantial contamination of food”.

Catherine Waudby, on behalf of Bolton Council, told District Judge James Prowse that the contamination, which is a danger to public health, had come to light on March 5 during a routine environmental health inspection at a warehouse on the Wadsworth Industrial Estate, High Street, Daubhill.

The premises were supposed to be used for storage, but inspectors found Asian dried foodstuffs, such as rice, popcorn, nuts and spices, being packaged there, with droppings on the food and plastic wrappings and no hand washing facilities available.

The tonne of food was seized and yesterday (TUE), at Bolton Magistrates Court, the judge ordered it be dyed and disposed of in bins.

Jabir Patel, director of the Derby Street based Barkat Food Store, was not present in court for the hearing, but environmental health officer Christopher Smith said he had not opposed the condemnation order.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We take breaches of food hygiene very seriously and take prompt and decisive action to protect consumers whose health could be put at risk.

“Following a visit to the Barkat Foodstore warehouse by our Environmental Health Officers there was evidence of an infestation of pigeons which caused substantial contamination of food.”

“We immediately issued a Voluntary Prohibition Notice for the packaging and handling of open food and a detention notice for more than tonne of food under section 9 of the Food Safety Act 1990.”

The council is now arranging for the food to be destroyed.