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.