Staff at UK food place put food gnawed by mice back on shelves

Martin Elvery of Get West London reports that rat droppings hanging from the ceilings of rooms where fruit and vegetables were stored, products being repackaged and sold after being gnawed by mice and a cement mixer allegedly being used to mix marinated chicken are just some of the horrors Ealing’s food safety officers have uncovered over the past year.

The council carries out thorough, regular checks of all premises serving and selling food in the borough which are categorised for their level of risk on a sliding scale of A to E.

Whilst the vast majority – 82% this year – complied fully with food standards, they have had to take swift action to deal with a few. A report summarising them was presented to the council’s general purpose committee on Tuesday, June 26.

When officers visited food store rooms used to keep fruit and vegetables based at a store in The Green, in Southall, they were found to be riddled with rat droppings.

The report states rat and mouse droppings were found throughout at wall and floor junctions, and on high level shelving. They were also found hanging from the ceiling and on the door leading to the rear store room.

Mouse shit kebabs: UK takeaway closed

Tanveer Mann of Metro reports a kebab shop in Manchester was so filthy it had mouse droppings littered in every single room, a court has heard. The droppings were found in food preparation and customer areas at Go Shawarma, in Salford, as well as on the floor, on shelves, old work equipment, next to wrapped food and even alongside cleaning materials. Food waste was piled up inside the shop and rubbish bags outside.
The situation was so grim the manager agreed to close the premises for two days to get on top of the problems, but then refused to be interviewed by council officers about the offence.

The conditions discovered by environtmental health inspectors at the Go Shawarma takeaway in Union Terrace, Salford. Virtually every room had mouse droppings.

Abdulraziq Ahmad, the owner of the takeaway on Bury Old Road, pleaded guilty to failing to adequately control pests, failing to have adequate provision for the disposal of waste and failing to have a documented food safety management system. He was fined a total of £2,250 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and £75 victim surcharge when he appeared at Salford and Manchester magistrates court on June 19.

Because chefs have goggles that can see bacteria: English World Cup team refusing food from Russian room service over poisoning fears, source claims

Team England is reportedly on an even stricter diet than usual at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as players have allegedly been banned from eating food from room service at their Russian hotel (me watching soccer, left, exactly as shown).

The Three Lions stars are “under strict orders to reject any food not approved by their expert chefs,” The Sun is reporting. According to the outlet, security is on “high alert” at the team’s ForRestMix hotel in Repino, Saint Petersburg, given fears surrounding the nerve attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia earlier this year.

“Nothing is being left to chance. The players are going to do exactly as told. Nothing will pass their lips apart from food and drink provided by chefs and nutritionists,” a source told The Sun. “If the players are hungry they must contact somebody within the management to get a snack. They can’t just reach into the mini bar or buy something from a shop.”

“These rules are always in place at tournaments because of diets, and there is always a fear of food poisoning which could destroy their performance. But for the World Cup in Russia it is very, very strict,” they added.

But while elite players are snacking on light fare including sushi, oatcakes with cream cheese, and herbal teas, this isn’t the first time that head coach Gareth Southgate has made headlines for cracking down on his player’s diets.

Earlier this year, Southgate coordinated with the Starbucks at the hotel where his team was staying to remove all treats and ban the sale of sugary drinks to his squad ahead of this summer’s World Cup, the Evening Standard reported.

Now that the games have officially begun, nutritionists and chefs have arrived to support the team in Russia, and all precautions are being taken.

“Health inspectors will take food samples and freeze them to look at if something happens,” Tim De’Ath, who has worked as Team England’s head chef for 10 years, told The Sun.

Standard operating procedure for these kind of events, or schools in Japan.

Norovirus that sickened over 200 in 2015 was more than ‘technical difficulties’

A man who barfed in the foyer of Toby’s Carvery at the Exeter Arms, Middlemoor, UK, on the evening of Sunday, March 29, 2015 tested positive for Norovirus.

The restaurant closed, reopened, and then reclosed two days later for “technical difficulties” after at least 100 people subsequently were sickened by noro, including all 24 staff at a local charity, the Cat Protection League, who visited the restaurant for a leaving meal for a deputy manager.

The Mid-Devon Advertiser reports the pub and restaurant, which are owned and run by the brewers Mitchells and Butlers, have applied to the court to have the case dismissed and have commissioned their own specialist reports.

Mitchells and Butlers, which is based at Fleet Street, Birmingham, runs 1,784 pubs and restaurants all over Britain including the Toby Carvery, All Bar One, Browns, and Harvester chains.

They are accused of a single offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act of failing to ensure the safety of customers at the Toby Carvery in Exeter between March 28 and April 8, 2015.

The charge specifies that they ’failed to conduct an undertaking in such a way as to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment who may have been affected thereby, were not exposed to risks to their health and safety’.

Mr John Cooper, QC, defending, asked that the company should not be asked to enter a plea until a special hearing on their application to dismiss the case had been heard.

He said they also intend to argue that the case is an abuse of process.

Mr Simon Morgan, prosecuting on behalf of Exeter City Council, said they plan to serve more expert evidence in the next few weeks.

Stop scamming in Spain: Crackdown on British tourists’ phony food poisoning

The British Ministry of Justice has announced new rules to stop British holidaymakers in Spain from scamming tour operators with fake food poisoning claims.

Under the crackdown, a limit will be set on the legal costs that can be claimed in overseas package travel claims. This will stop claims management companies from seeking legal costs that are out of proportion to the damages sought – a loophole that has often pushed tour operators to settle out of court.

In a press release, the Ministry of Justice said the change “would mean tour operators would pay prescribed costs depending on the value of the claim and length of proceedings, making defense costs predictable and assisting tour operators to challenge bogus claims.”

According to court documents, phony food poisoning claims may have cheated Spanish hotels out of as much as €60 million since 2014. The scam took off in the summer of 2016, with one hotel chain receiving 273 claims requesting compensation for 700 people.

The scam was simple enough. The tourist buys a travel package with any travel agent and stays at a Spanish hotel that includes all meals in the price. Back in Britain after the vacation, the tourist uses a claims-management company to file a complaint against the company that organized the trip, alleging that the hotel meals made him/her ill.

Current British consumer laws barely require the claimant to produce any evidence. No doctor’s report is necessary, and claims may be filed up to three years after the event.

Since it is hard to prove that the client did not get sick, and faced with high legal fees if the case goes to court, the tour operator accepts the claim, then pass on the cost to the Spanish hotels as per their contract, in which the latter accept responsibility for all damages.

In 2017, the Spanish Civil Guard arrested seven British nationals for their involvement in the scam.

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the number of claims jumped from 5,000 in 2013 to 35,000 in 2016 – an increase of 500%.

“Claiming compensation for being sick on holiday, when you haven’t been, is fraud,” said Justice Minister Rory Stewart. “This behavior also tarnishes the reputation of British people abroad. That is why we are introducing measures to crack down on those who engage in this dishonest practice.”

The Ministry of Justice says the new rules will come into effect shortly – well before summer begins.

In early April, a young couple who demanded compensation after claiming they fell ill on holidays were caught out thanks to their social media photos.

Chelsea Devine, 21, and Jamie Melling, 22, from Liverpool in the UK, went on a 10-day all-inclusive holiday to Benidorm, Spain in September 2015.

The holiday was booked with travel and tourism company TUI, and they stayed at the Levante Beach Apartments during their trip.

In May 2016, the couple both claimed they had contracted serious food poisoning from food and drinks consumed during their stay, and each demanded $4500 in compensation from TUI.

The pair claimed they were seriously ill during their holiday, and that the sickness lasted for weeks.

However, Liverpool County Court heard their social media accounts revealed a variety of happy, poolside selfies, which caused judge Sally Hatfield QC to brand them both as “fundamentally dishonest”.

They recently received a record fine of more than $27,000 for their fraudulent claim.

According to The Sun, Recorder Sally Hatfield QC said there was no evidence the pair had been ill during their trip.

In October 2017, UK couple Deborah Briton, 53, and Paul Roberts, 43, were jailed for making fake holiday sickness claims in a landmark case.

UK woman who threw vomit over neighbour’s fence sent to prison

A woman who threw vomit over a neighbour’s garden fence and broke glass outside her front door has been sent to prison for 42 days by Truro magistrates.

Susan Karen Northey, aged 42, of Whym Kibbal Court, Wesley Street, Redruth, pursued a course of harassment towards another woman, which also included playing music loud enough to cause her partition wall to shake.

She admitted the offence and also to damaging a black Chevrolet Kalios to the value of £300.

Sainsbury’s recalls beetroot over glass fears

But, but mom, I don’t like beets.

A catch-phrase from my youth and I have no idea why, other than pickled beets were a staple of 1970s funky glassware along with pickled cucumbers and pickled onions.

Dinner at my parent’s house has its traditions.

I had some chicken pate and beets on crackers the other evening as an homage to my Danish carpenter friends, who would eat endless amounts of the stuff on rye bread.

I was chatting with a friend the other day, and we were remarking on the quality control from the ladies watching the beets in the past, to sophisticated glass and metal detectors in the present.

One of my better on-farm food safety tips for processing vegetables in Ontario about 2002 was, if you’re gonna shoot groundhogs, pick up the damn shell so it doesn’t end up in someone’s meal.

Sainsbury’s is recalling a batch of its Sliced Beetroot sold in jars as a “precautionary measure” because the product may contain small pieces of glass.

The presence of glass made the product unsafe to eat and presented a safety risk, according to the recall notice issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

In its recall notice, the FSA advised consumers to return the product to the store from where it was bought for a full refund.

Sainsbury’s said it had identified the possible presence of small pieces of glass in one batch of its Sliced Beetroot product.

UK health officials finger C. perfringens as source of over 60 illnesses at pub

Those 60-plus diners that got sick at the Old Farmhouse pub on Mother’s Day in Somerset, UK, were stricken with Clostridium perfringens.

PHE South West Consultant in Health Protection Dr Bayad Nozad said: “C. perfringens live normally in the human and animal intestine and in the environment.

“The illness is usually caused by eating food contaminated with large numbers of C. perfringens bacteria that produce enough toxin in the intestines to cause illness.”

The Old Farmhouse, owned by brewery chain Hall and Woodhouse, temporarily closed its kitchen while investigations were underway.

Samples were then taken in order to identify the cause of the sickness outbreak.

Dr Nozad said: “It is good news that the majority of affected individuals appear to have recovered quickly.

“Our advice for anyone else affected is to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

“We are currently working with Environmental Health Officers from North Somerset Council to ensure that the venue have appropriate precautions and procedures in place.”

North Somerset Council environmental health officers have say the venue is now operating under their guidance.

Salmonella sample swap: Welsh biologist used patient’s poo to get time off work

Philip Dewey and Jessica Walford of Wales Online report a scientist who didn’t want to work day shifts swapped his own feces with a patient who had salmonella to prove to his bosses he had food poisoning.

Bernard Watkins worked as a biomedical scientist in the microbiology department at Cwm Taf University Health Board.

After he was handed day shifts, instead of his preferred night shifts, he went into a freezer at work and took a patient sample which had tested positive for salmonella before using a computer at work to check a patient’s confidential details and make sure they had the disease.

But days later he confessed all to one of his bosses – admitting he had “spiked” his sample.

Mr Watkins was due to appear before a conduct and competence panel of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for allegations of dishonesty, misconduct and whether his fitness to practise has been impaired, but the hearing was held in his absence.

The panel heard on Thursday how on October 10, 2016, Mr Watkins, who had 20 years service at the time, told his bosses he was unable to come into work as he feeling unwell and suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting.

He left a fecal sample in the office on the same date.

Two days later, on October 12, he called his employers to say he wouldn’t be working for the rest of the week as he remained unwell.

The same day the fecal sample tested positive for salmonella.

One of his bosses, Kelly Ward, the manager for Microbiology, phoned Mr Watkins and asked him to submit another fecal sample signed by his GP.

On October 13 Mr Watkins explained to Mrs Ward he had been to his GP and provided the sample. But the sample tested negative for salmonella.

On October 17 Mr Watkins returned to work and Mrs Ward completed a return to work form. She discussed concerns with him going off work when he was required to work day shifts instead of his preferred night shifts.

But just two days later, as Mr Watkins was finishing a night shift which ended at 8am, he called Mrs Ward and asked to meet her when she got into work.

He told her he “deliberately contaminated” a sample of a patient who had salmonella with his own feces by adding in his own fecal matter, saying his employer would have “found out anyway”.

UK pub kitchen shut after 62 diners report vomiting and diarrhea: Somerset

A day after The Morning Advertiser in Somerset, U.K. said with a straight face that only a few local restaurants had received a zero rating from the U.K. Food Standards Authority, a local pub has closed after at least 62 diners reported vomiting and diarrhea.

The Old Farmhouse in Nailsea, north Somerset, which is operated by Hall & Woodhouse and did not, apparently, receive a zero, will keep its kitchen shut while investigations from North Somerset Council and Public Health England (PHE) continue.