18 sickened; Reading College fined after liver pate causes food poisoning

Do students at the thousands of culinary and catering programs learn any food safety?

BBC News reports Reading College has been fined £7,000 after admitting students breached food regulations by serving liver pate which had not been cooked to the required temperature and made a bunch of old folks sick.

It was ordered to pay a further £8,000 costs at the town’s magistrates’ court.

The problems were traced to liver pate prepared by students who were training for catering careers and were overseen by a chef.

Trainees had been given the wrong cooking temperature, which was too low to kill Campylobacter in the raw materials.

Edna Shepherd of the Pine Cones Retirement Club, whose members had eaten at the college restaurant as part of a group outing, said: "Some of the ladies living on their own were in a shocking state."

Principal Lesley Donoghue said the college "deeply regretted" causing food poisoning in 18 people in May 2011, adding, "We obviously recognize some of the problems that were caused and deeply regret any illness which was caused to people. Clearly we’ve taken a lot of remedial action – new premises, new facilities, a new start."

Based on this story, Reading College still don’t get it.

New facilities aren’t going to make food safe, unless they bought a bunch of tip-sensitive digital thermometers, and students were instructed on how to temp food – and no fingering.

Perhaps it’s difficult to train students in the U.K. with a government-sanctioned culture to cook things until they are piping hot.