Unlicensed Washington caterer exposes dozens to Salmonella

Kenny Ocker of The News Tribune reports that Rick Stevenson told health inspectors he used the kitchen in a buddy’s rental house in Snohomish County to cook chicken, along with other fixings, for an event nearby in early July.

tacoma.catererBut officials say Stevenson, who runs the unlicensed Mr. Rick’s Catering out of a Tacoma home, failed to cook the chicken through and sickened several people with salmonella.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department had contacted Stevenson multiple times since 2012 telling him to shut down his business. After the Snohomish County incident, the department fined him $710 for continuing to operate without a permit.

Department spokeswoman Edie Jeffers said Wednesday that the state Department of Health is leading the investigation into the food poisoning because the people who attended the event came from throughout Washington.

State spokeswoman Julie Graham said the state has confirmed three cases of salmonella from the July 2 event, which about 175 people attended. At least a dozen more responded to a survey of attendees, saying they also were sickened.

Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, chills, dehydration and abdominal pain.

At the event, Stevenson served chicken, pulled pork, pork ribs, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, Italian pasta salad, green salad and some beverages, according to Christina Sherman, an environmental health specialist for the county health department.

“From discussing his processes with him, we could see that he didn’t have enough equipment to prepare all of this food safely and didn’t have enough equipment to keep it warm once it was prepared,“ Christina Sherman, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Rachel Knight, food safety program manager at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, said “Local caterers with the appropriate permit to prepare and serve food at events are responsible for following food safety rules—and protecting the public’s health.”

UK man hit with £100K bill for running illegal catering firm

 Food inspectors found a disgusting mess at an illegally-run Hampshire catering firm – and now its owner faces a £100,000 bill.

Tired of its repeated flouting of the rules designed to keep people safe, council officials raided Paul Gillingham’s suburban base in Winchester.

The Daily Echo reports inspectors found unidentifiable food in the filthy kitchen, including 30 joints of meat, and also food in freezers under tarpaulins in the garden.

High-risk food was even stored in a Ford Transit, including mayonnaise, which had to be kept below 8C but was at 18C.

With the case closed, pictures of what inspectors found have just been released.
Now Gillingham, 55, faces a £95,000 legal bill that, barring a major windfall, looks set to “follow him around forever”.

Winchester City Council has won an order against him under the proceeds of crime act, because he was running an unlicensed business.

Gillingham had earlier admitted 30 food hygiene offences and was fined more than £7,000 by Winchester Crown Court.

The proceeds of crime order means that Gillingham must repay £95,000 made by County Caterers while it traded illegally between October 2004 and October 2010.