Keep it cool: C. perfringens is not a friend; UK pub fined thousands

Nikkie Sutton of The Morning Advertiser writes that a carvery operator that provides food in a West Midlands pub has been ordered to pay thousands of pounds after 20 diners contracted food poisoning.

A 94-year-old woman and several children became ill after eating at the pub last year and informed Dudley Council of their food poisoning symptoms.

IP Carvery, which makes the food on behalf of the Park Lane Tavern, in Cradley, pleaded guilty to placing unsafe food on the market in a case brought by Dudley Council at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court on 18 May.

A public apology was made to the court on behalf of IP Carvery’s director. The court also heard the company had employed a food-safety expert to advise them, inspect their facilities and train staff.

The food business was fined £1,350 and ordered to pay costs of £2,483.55 to Dudley Council and a victim surcharge of £120.

At the the hearing, the court heard how the diners ate at the carvery in a two hour slot on Saturday 2 April last year and 20 customers were confirmed to have suffered from Clostridium perfringens, that can be caused by the inadequate cooling of large joints of meat, leading to the formation of toxic bacteria, which survives cooking and then grows in the meat while cooling. It can cause illness shortly after being reheated and consumed.

Two leftover samples of turkey taken home by customers were found to be contaminated with the bacteria.

Environmental Health officers also visited the pub and found inadequate storage temperatures of cooked joints, a lack of monitoring of cooling times and temperature of cooked meats and inadequate record keeping.