Salmonella-laden spices made in a (shag-carpeted) van down by the river

A food company has been fined £4,000 after it supplied a catering firm with a spice mix infected with salmonella.

spices-van-ukWorkers at Catermix, in Syston, UK, blended spices in the back of a dirty, carpet-lined van, and stored the resulting mixtures in a damp garage, before selling them to the catering industry.

Charnwood Borough Council launched an investigation into the now closed down firm after another local authority raised the alarm when it found the bacteria in a batch of tikka spicing supplied to a company in Preston.

The contaminated ingredients were being used in food production, including ready-made sandwiches.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court was told Charnwood environmental health officers discovered that Catermix staff were using the old van as a place to mix spices.

They also discovered the firm was not registered with Charnwood Borough Council as a food business.

Catermix stopped supplying products while the council carried out its investigation.

The Food Standards Agency also had to issue a recall notice for items containing the spice mix. One company had to withdraw more than 6,000 products.

The council said the company’s director, Chhagan (CRCT) Patel, had said he had run the company since 2000 and had worked in the food industry since 1983.

He said he bought the spices from one company, mixed them in the back of the van and then sent them to another company for further processing and bagging.

The spices were then supplied to other companies, including the one in Preston.

Mr Patel said mixing spices in the van was a temporary measure after his previous manufacturer had closed in May 2015.

He said using the van had been a last resort, but he believed the conditions in his storeroom and vehicle were acceptable.

He said he monitored the processes but did not formally record any checks.

Mr Patel accepted he did not carry out any microbiological checks on the final products which he supplied.



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A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time