Pub owner ‘truly sorry’ for food-poi­son­ing of pa­trons


A PUB owner has been fined £14,000 after 186 peo­ple were poi­soned by a Mother’s Day meal.

Eric Mont­gomery was taken to court as a re­sult of the food poi­son­ing out­break at The Old Farm­house, in Nailsea, Som­er­set, on March 11 last year.

Nearly 400 peo­ple en­joyed a meal at the pub, but al­most half of the guests fell ill after their visit.

The vic­tims’ ages ranged from ba­bies to din­ers in their 80s, all of whom had be­come un­well with symp­toms in­clud­ing di­a­hor­rea, stom­ach cramps and sick­ness. All those who fell ill did not have any long-last­ing ef­fects and re­cov­ered within a few days.

North Som­er­set Coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­men­tal health depart­ment launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and man­aged to trace the 398 peo­ple who had eaten at the pub that day.

Mr Mont­gomery is no longer in­volved with The Old Farm­house, hav­ing left the busi­ness in Au­gust last year.

The pub is now un­der new man­age­ment and has a five-star food hy­giene rat­ing.

A court hear­ing was told how tests on sam­ples taken from the pub showed that beef and lamb con­tained the bac­te­ria clostrid­ium per­frin­gens.

The bac­te­ria, which nor­mally lives in the hu­man and an­i­mal in­tes­tine and in the en­vi­ron­ment, causes a toxin in the body.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed that meat served in the carvery had been cooked at a low tem­per­a­ture the pre­vi­ous night and was then kept warm un­til re­quired.

The court heard that, al­though the bac­te­ria had been found in the lamb and beef, there was “strong ev­i­dence” that other food items had also been con­tam­i­nated.

To kill the bac­te­ria in the meat, it needs to be cooked at a higher tem­per­a­ture, which did not hap­pen, the court heard.

En­vi­ron­men­tal health of­fi­cers also found dur­ing their visit that doc­u­men­ta­tion re­gard­ing food safety at the pub was not up to date.

After ad­mit­ting his guilt, Mr Mont­gomery was fined £10,000 for plac­ing un­safe food on the mar­ket and a fur­ther £4,000 for fail­ing to en­sure rel­e­vant food safety doc­u­ments were up to date.

He was also or­dered to pay the £4,765 costs of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and a £170 vic­tim sur­charge.

In a let­ter to the court, Mr Mont­gomery said: “I am truly sorry for the harm caused to our pa­trons.”

„ The Old Farm­house was hit with a le­gal bill of al­most £20k.

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