Land­lord fined £14k as 200 din­ers fall ill

Western Daily Press - - News - JACK LONGSTAFF [email protected]­erndai­ly­

AFORMER pub owner has been fined £14,000 after nearly 200 peo­ple were poi­soned by a Mother’s Day meal.

Eric Mont­gomery was taken to court after 186 fell ill with food poi­son­ing after their visit to the The Old Farm­house in Nailsea on March 11 last year.

Nearly 400 peo­ple en­joyed a meal at his for­mer pub, put 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 re­ported be­com­ing un­well with symp­toms of di­a­hor­rea, stom­ach cramps and sick­ness. They had eaten over four sit­tings through­out the day at the North Som­er­set pub.

North Som­er­set Coun­cil en­vi­ron­men­tal health depart­ment launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and man­aged to trace the 398 peo­ple who had eaten at the pub that day. Pub­lic Health Eng­land (PHE) was also in­formed.

En­vi­ron­men­tal health of­fi­cers con­ducted a visit of the pub and took sam­ples of lamb, beef, gravy and from some of the equip­ment used. Of­fi­cials re­turned to the pub the next day where they met Mr Mont­gomery, the sole di­rec­tor of the com­pany M and M Hospi­tal­ity, which ran The Old Farm­house at the time.

Mr Mont­gomery is no longer in­volved and the pub is now un­der new man­age­ment and has a five star food hy­giene rat­ing.

After the in­spec­tion the pub was closed for a deep clean amid ini­tial fears a vi­ral out­break of the sick­ness and di­a­hor­rea bug Norovirus had caused peo­ple to be­come ill.

At a court hear­ing, it was told how tests on the sam­ples taken from the pub showed that both the beef and lamb con­tained the bac­te­ria clostrid­ium per­frin­gens.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed that the meat served in the carvery had been cooked at a low tem­per­a­ture overnight the pre­vi­ous night, with it then be­ing kept warm un­til re­quired for the carvery.

Prose­cut­ing for North Som­er­set Coun­cil Emma An­der­son said: “These food safety pro­ce­dures are es­sen­tial in en­sur­ing out­breaks like this do not oc­cur.”

Mr Mont­gomery ad­mit­ted charges of plac­ing un­safe food on the mar­ket and fail­ing to en­sure rel­e­vant food safety doc­u­ments were up to date when he ap­peared be­fore mag­is­trates.

The court heard how Mr Mont­gomery, who has been in the ca­ter­ing busi­ness for 30 years hav­ing served as a caterer for the Royal Marines, has two other pubs, both of which have a five star food hy­giene rat­ing.

De­fend­ing Mr Mont­gomery Stu­art Matthews said: “This is a man of im­pec­ca­ble char­ac­ter who has been in the busi­ness for 30 years.

“He is deeply upset that any­one has been caused harm on his watch.”

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

Mr Mon­to­gomery was fined £4,000 for fail­ing to en­sure the rel­e­vant food safety doc­u­men­ta­tion was in place.

He was fined a fur­ther £10,000 for plac­ing un­safe food on the mar­ket.

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

An­drew Matthews

A win­dow is re­moved by a mem­ber of the mil­i­tary as work con­tin­ues on the home of for­mer Rus­sian spy Sergei Skri­pal in Sal­is­bury

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