A cockroach was found eating a chip in Kentucky Fried Chicken's (KFC) Leicester Square branch, which is one of its busiest restaurants in Britain.
The company has been fined £11,000 and ordered to pay £7,927.80 in costs after an environmental health officer found the insect on a food dispensing counter near tongs used to serve chicken.
City of Magistrates' Court was also told how the inspector found a mouse, flies and dried chicken blood on the floor. There was also no hand wash in the dispensers in the food preparation area, the court heard. KFC admitted breaching five hygiene rules after the inspection in August 2008.
Michael Goodwin, prosecuting, said that, four months before the inspection, the branch received a "specific warning" from the council voicing concerns about hygiene practices.
David Whiting, representing KFC, said the company took the inspection "very seriously". He said: "KFC accepts the condition that has been described to you. They fell below their own high standards and below legal standards."
Mr Whiting said that the outside contractor employed to deal with pest control problems has now had its agreement with KFC terminated across the UK. He added that, on the day of the inspection, an employee had forgotten to refill the soap dispensers in the preparation room but that there were still places where employees could wash their hands.
Katrina Elsey from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "KFC have clearly failed to ensure that the preparation area used for cooking food was clean and free from contamination and have seriously breached regulations under
the Food Safety Act.
"This is a warning to all other food outlets selling and serving food at their premises to ensure the Health and Safety of working and preparation areas is clean and free from contamination. Very often, people are seriously ill and develop food poisoning as a result of unhygienic premises which clearly fall below the required standard."