Failures abound as hotel fined for sickening wedding guests with Campylobacter via undercooked chicken pate

The fancy-pants Letchworth Hall Hotel in Hertfordshire, U.K., near London, was ordered to pay more than £12,000 after pleading guilty to two charges of poor food hygiene practice on Friday.

Hertford Magistrates’ Court heard that 49 of the 118 guests at the hotel in Letchworth Lane who had eaten a chicken liver pate starter had reported illness after the meal in September 2011.

Subsequently 22 cases of a Campylobacter infection were confirmed, including the bride and groom who both became ill while on honeymoon in Las Vegas. Symptoms of the infection included stomach cramps and diarrhea.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) received the initial complaint five days after the wedding on September 8 and two environmental health officers visited the hotel to investigate.

The officers established that the chef had cooked the chicken livers to 60 degrees C, in breach of hotel policy and Food Standards Agency guidance which recommends a temperature of 75 degrees C to prevent food poisoning.

Letchworth Hall Hotel admitted undercooking the pate, rendering it unsafe for human consumption, and failing to ensure the kitchen followed the company food safety policy and procedures, including a failure of management to uphold those procedures.