Hotel fined £9,000 for causing Christmas Day food poisoning

Posted on Friday 15th February 2019

The owner of a hotel where customers suffered food poisoning after eating a Christmas Day meal has appeared in court along with the former restaurant manager.

Dr Steve Hodgetts, owner of the Milton Hotel (Llanwern) Ltd and former restaurant manager Karen Evans pleaded guilty to several charges when the case was heard at Newport Magistrate’s Court on 8 February and were fined a total of £9,000.

The court heard the outbreak affected more than 20 people including a three year old child who became ill with Clostridium pefringens food poisoing.

The meal had been incorrectly cooled and reheated leading to the growth of the bacteria which commonly causes sickness and diarrhoea.

Those affected had the meal on Christmas Day 2017 with symptoms starting hours later in the early hours of Boxing Day morning and lasting for around 24 hours.

Officers visited the restaurant on 27 December 2017 in response to the owner reporting the incident to the Food Standards Agency.

Samples of the food were taken and sent for analysis which later proved the link between the illness and the meat eaten by the diners on Christmas Day.

Dr Hodgetts and Ms Evans pleaded guilty to charges of:

*Supplying food that was unfit and injurious to health

*Failure to protect food from contamination

*Failure to correctly cool the meat after cooking and

*Failure to implement and maintain food safety procedures.

The company was also charged with failing to have the appropriate licence in place to serve alcohol on the premises or to register the business with the food authority.

The company and individuals pleaded guilty to all charges and agreed to pay Newport City Council’s full legal costs.

In sentencing Judge Khan said: “The defendants have failed to comply with basic requirements and common sense when it came to the heating and cooling of food and the outcome was therefore inevitable.”

He concluded the defendants were “out of their depth” in running the business.

The premises has since received a Food Hygiene Rating of FOUR since addressing the problems found in 2017.

Councillor Ray Truman, Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulation said: “Environmental health officers often have to undertake enforcement action based on the likelihood of a situation causing illness, but unfortunately in this case an investigation followed customers being made ill.

“It was fortunate that none of those who suffered with the diarrhoea and vomiting were more seriously ill or died, which could have happened if someone with an existing health problem in a vulnerable condition had eaten the food.

“This case should send a strong message that operating a food business is not to be taken lightly and businesses should take advice and guidance from the council.”

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