UK restaurant owner jailed for food hygiene ‘one of the worst cases in 20 years’

The owner of a restaurant that was so filthy a food safety officer said it was one of the worst cases he has seen in more than 20 years has been jailed.

Alomgir-QureshiAlomigir Qureshi, 47, was also sentenced for employing an illegal immigrant at his Chai Wallah restaurant on Yarm High Street and for breaching a suspended sentence he received in 2013 – also for employing failed asylum seekers.

Qureshi, of Brisbane Grove, Hartburn, Stockton was jailed for a total of 21 months at Teesside Crown Court earlier today (Friday, January 29).

Richard Bennett, prosecuting for both the Crown and Stockton Borough Council, told the court that the council’s food safety officers were tipped off by a member of the public who had been served chicken which was raw in the middle and another person who was concerned that the chef’s clothing “appeared filthy”.

Inspectors found dirty tea towels thrown over eggs and dough as well as dirty food preparation and storage areas, shelves and pipework. Mr Bennett said: “In the opinion of the inspectors there was a total disregard for food safety and no evidence of any good hygiene practice.”

Spices strike again: Chicken tikka products recalled over salmonella fear in UK

A popular producer of snacks has recalled numerous products over salmonella fears.

Chicken-Tikka-Wrap-LunchboxEasy Eats – who have their products stored in numerous major supermarkets, as well as high street convenience stores – made the move to withdraw multiple food items.

It is understood that there is a possible presence of salmonella in the products, which can be found listed below.

“This is due to the possible presence of salmonella in the tikka powder ingredient used to manufacture these products.”

Tikka is a curry powder with a mixture of spices and yoghurt.

The following products are being recalled:

Snax on the Go Chicken Tikka Filler & Fillings
‘Use by’ date: 8 February 2016

Snax on the Go Mixed Case (includes Chicken Tikka Sandwiches)
‘Use by’ date: 15 February 2016

Snacksters Chicken Tikka Sandwiches
‘Use by’ dates: 15 February 2016

Snacksters Chicken Tikka Wraps
‘Use by’ date: 8 February 2016

Snacksters Mixed case (includes Chicken Tikka Sandwiches)
‘Use by’ date: 15 February 2016

Best In Chicken Tikka Sandwiches
‘Use by’ date: 15 February 2016

Point-of-sale recall notices will be displayed in stores selling these products.

If you have bought one of these products, do not eat it.

Instead, return it to the store from where it was bought for a full refund.

Where’s the risk assessment? Raw British eggs safe for pregnant women, old folks, report says

In an apparent triumph of culture over science, the UK’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food says pregnant women should be told they can safely eat runny eggs, almost 30 years after the Salmonella crisis.

runny-egg-yolksBritish eggs with the red lion mark carry such a low risk that vulnerable groups, such as expectant mothers and elderly people, could eat them lightly cooked or raw in items such as mayonnaise.

The report by the committee’s egg working group said lion-marked eggs, which make up almost 90% of UK production, should be categorised as “very low” risk. This was because improved hygiene and storage had resulted in “a major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella” in British hen eggs in the last 15 years.

It recommended that the Food Standards Agency change its official advice on these eggs but said the warning should remain in place for imported eggs, UK eggs without the lion mark and those from birds other than hens.

Fears over salmonella peaked in the late 1980s when 2 million chickens were slaughtered and pregnant women were told to avoid undercooked eggs.

The ACMSF report said: “The ‘very low’ risk level means that eggs produced under the lion code, or produced under demonstrably equivalent comprehensive schemes, can be served raw or lightly cooked to all groups in society, including those that are more vulnerable to infection, in both domestic and commercial settings, including care homes and hospitals.”

In 1988 the then junior health minister Edwina Currie said most egg production in Britain was infected with salmonella. Her comments sparked a public outcry and forced her to resign two weeks later. By early 1989 the link between eggs and salmonella poisoning was proved beyond doubt.


UK restaurant owner fined for ‘sewage smell’ hygiene breaches after 200 fall ill from catered event

The owner of a London Road curry house has been hit with a £6,000 fine after a food poisoning outbreak which led to more than 200 people being taken ill.

JFK bathrooms montageSivapathasundaram Premanathan, director of VP & Sons, which owns Spiceland in Broad Green, pleaded guilty to 20 food hygiene offences at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on December 12 and was hit with a £6,000 fine.

Environmental health officers at Croydon Council were alerted by the organiser of a coming-of-age party in December 2014, which was catered by the restaurant, after which more than 200 guests fell ill.

They discovered the food for the party had been produced and delivered from Spiceland, which had failed a food hygiene rating a month earlier.

When the inspectors returned a few days after the party, they found “very dirty” conditions in the kitchens; the washing up sink smelled of sewage, the walk-in chiller was dirty with food spillages and debris, raw meat and chicken was stored directly above ready-to-eat food and the hand wash basin could not be used because it was cluttered with dirty cloths and utensils.

They also found staff were ignorant of basic food safety practices and were seen handling food without washing their hands.

Sounds like a French thing: Fromagerie Beillevaire UK recalls its Brie de Meaux à la Truffe due to high levels of Listeria monocytogenes

Fromagerie Beillevaire UK has recalled a batch of its ‘Brie de Meaux à la Truffe’ with a ‘use by’ date of 22 January 2016 because high levels of the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes have been found in the product.

Fromagerie Beillevaire UKListeria monocytogenes can cause foodborne illness, particularly among key vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, unborn and newborn babies, those over 60 years old, and anyone with reduced immunity.

High levels of Listeria monocytogenes in Fromagerie Beillevaire UK, Brie de Meaux à la Truffe.

Product: Fromagerie Beillevaire UK, Brie de Meaux à la Truffe

‘Use by’ date: 22 January 2016

Batch number: 1505523

No other Fromagerie Beillevaire UK products are known to be affected.

Fromagerie Beillevaire UK is recalling the above product as a precaution and has contacted its customers.  Point-of-sale recall notices are also being displayed in stores. These notices explain to customers why the product is being recalled and tell them what actions to take if they have bought the product. A copy of the point-of-sale recall notice can be found below.

If you have bought the above product, do not eat it. Instead, return it to the store from where it was bought for a full refund or call Fromagerie Beillevaire UK Ltd on 01322 438 017 with any queries.

Wedding ‘nightmare’ as 20 guests get Norovirus in UK

A bride and groom’s wedding celebrations turned into “a nightmare” after around 20 guests were later struck down by the winter vomiting bug.

ask_me_about_my_explosive_diarrhea_tshirt-p2354413693811905333sgf_400The Dundee couple were also affected by the outbreak of norovirus, with people advising the couple of their situation after the occasion.

Heather Albin and Steven Campbell, who were married at the Westpark Conference Centre, in Perth Road, described the aftermath of the event as a “nightmare”.

Bride Heather said: “We had an amazing day but a couple of days later we were hearing that many of our guests had been hit by acute sickness and diarrhea.”

She said that she and her new groom had also been unwell, adding: “I got it first, followed by Steve.

“At the beginning of January, around 20 of our guests had been in touch to say they and their families were feeling terrible — it’s been a nightmare.

“So many of the people who attended the wedding were affected that we wondered if it could have been something we ate at the wedding.

“However, I have now been told it is more likely to be something viral.”

Effective risk communication (not); Salmonella in horses cause of mystery UK quarantine

A mysterious quarantine closure order that baffled villagers was caused by a fatal, equine salmonella out-break.

wayne' December 12 the Newbury Weekly News reported how Curridge residents were surprised to see the closure order posted on a public right of way.

Signs stating “Horses in quarantine – footpath and bridleway closed until further notice” appeared on land surrounding Copyhold Farm bearing no further details, council logo or contact number.

It is illegal to obstruct a public right of way by, for example, fencing or locking a gate across it and some residents wanted to know whether the closure, on land popular with ramblers and dog walkers, was official – and whether there was any disease risk to themselves or to their pets.

To add to the confusion, the closure did not appear on a list of public rights of way closure notifications published by West Berkshire Council.

However, following enquiries by this newspaper a spokeswoman for the council, Peta Stoddart-Crompton, said that the council did, in fact, close the path.

“Veterinary surgeons from Donnington Grove were called to see a sick horse at Copyhold Farm in Curridge on November 21. The horse was sent to a veterinary hospital at Liphook [in Hampshire] where it subsequently died,” she said.

“Tests carried out identified salmonella; therefore, the vets subsequently contacted the council who closed the path as a precaution.”

Brits still don’t know to use thermometers: Why you shouldn’t order a medium rare burger when eating out

I like my burgers at 165 F.

I don’t know what a medium-rare burger means, and neither do most of the people ordering and preparing hamburgers.

finger-testThere’s no definition, other than BS visual cues or B finger touching, or BS guesswork because, “we’ve always done it this way and never made anyone sick.”

More BS.

Worse is when the BS is coming from a publicly funded so-called science-based food safety agency – like the one in the UK.

According to the Mirror, experts say ordering a medium rare burger could contain dangerous bacteria that may lead to food poisoning or worse, be potentially fatal.

This is because bacteria, such as salmonella, listeria, campylobacter and E. coli, live on the outside of meat so searing steaks and cuts of beef and lamb would kill anything harmful, even when it’s still pink inside (unless it had been needle tenderized).

But as burgers are minced up those bugs that were on the outside are then on the inside and therefore should be cooked thoroughly, experts say.

The revelations were made as part of new four-part Channel 4 documentary Tricks of the Restaurant Trade, which explores the secrets of eating out.

Hugh Pennington, professor of bacteriology and leading expert of food poisoning, spoke to the programme and said he wants undercooked burgers banned.

“The problem with rare burgers is that you might fall ill from eating a bug that’s contained in the rare burger.

barfblog.Stick It In“You only have to eat about one bacterium to get a potentially lethal infection.”

In the episode aired tonight, the programme tested meat from some of the country’s top burger chains, with some shocking results.

A burger from Byron, a trendy gourmet burger restaurant, was found to contain Listeria innocua, the least dangerous strain of the bug but on rare occasions it can kill.

The chain said it was something they would be investigating.

A spokesman for Byron said ‘We have a comprehensive food management system to assure the safety of the food we serve.

‘We are proud of the quality of our beef and the rigour of these systems.”

You can say that with a straight face? Then show the burger-consuming public what the rigourous system actually is, instead of talking like a PR flunky.

It came after the Food Standards Agency released guidelines advising chains to warn about harmful bacteria.

The advice, released in September 2015, said restaurants should provide warnings on menus to vulnerable groups, like children, the elderly and pregnant women.

It also said only well done burgers should be served to children, especially the very young.

The programme sent in two young people, 11-year-old Abbie and 15-year-old Jamie, to three top burger chain restaurants to test the policy with some shocking results.

The first restaurant they tried was Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) where they were given no warnings on the menu and served a medium rare burger.

Next they went to Byron where the menu did contain a warning but staff still served the youngsters undercooked meat.

Finally they went to Honest Burgers where there was also no caution on the menu and the kids managed to get their hands on what appeared to be the rarest serving of the three.

GBK said that as of January 2016 the new FSA advice would be put on our menus, while Honest Burgers said it would add it on its next print run.

More BS.

Turkey’s are sorta boring: Re-create Christmas a 12-day drunken festival in centuries past

It’s a line I use frequently, from our Christmas movie tradition, Mystery, Alaska, or second fave, Trailer Park Boys Christmas:

historic-xmas-7_custom-c9322f035d60b76c3ab1fcedd928a3512b503b99-s1600-c85The only fun things to do in cold weather are fornicate and play hockey.

If you are eating turkey this Christmas out of some sense of tradition, food historian Ivan Day says, put down that drumstick. After studying English cookbooks hundreds of years old, Day says the giant bird isn’t even that traditional. Besides, he says, “It’s a dry wasteland of flavorless meat.”

Sure, the first turkey came to England in the 1600s. It was an exotic “treat” from the New World. But a time traveler from Shakespeare’s time wouldn’t understand why everyone in the modern world was having the same dull bird on Christmas night.

At his farmhouse in northern England, Day collects old cookbooks and food illustrations. He says in olden days, Christmas celebrations were all about novelty and variety. The tables of the rich might include a turkey and a goose, but also peacocks, swans, partridges and plovers. A rack of venison would sit beside a giant turtle. The eating would go on for days.

Christmas used to be a 12-day drunken festival. Imagine Mardi Gras with snow. Cooks were always trying to top one another in outrageousness, from the traditional presentation of the boar’s head to the array of sickeningly sweet puddings. Day shows me a 19th-century illustration of a pie that took a crowd of servants to carry. It was filled with boned geese, woodcocks, hares and any other game they had around.

“This was the original turducken,” he says.

Ivan Day will be having beef roasted in front of an open fire for Christmas, and he says you really should stop and appreciate how Christmas must have felt to people, say, 400 years ago. They might have gone months eating the same thing every day, bacon and bread. The Christmas meal, with its exotic fruits and endless variety, must have felt like a miracle. “It was a moment of sunshine in a dreary year of grayness,” he says.

UK pub closes amid Salmonella investigation

The Grove Farm, near junction 21 of the M1, will be shut until after Christmasand all bookings over the festive period have been cancelled. Health England said it first became aware of a problem at the venue in April after several people went to their GPswith stomach bugs and were found to have Salmonella poisoning. It said some of those affected were diners at Grove Farm, but was unable to confirm how many.

A spokesman said the restaurant was given a “deep clean” in the summer because of concerns, but the disease resurfaced recently, with more people falling ill.

This week, the restaurant’s owners, Greene King, voluntarily closed the premises, in Barton Close, Enderby.

Manager Amy Robertson said: “The decision to close has not been taken lightly.

“We have been working tirelessly with Environmental Health and Public Health England to try to identify if Grove Farm is associated with a cluster of salmonella cases in Leicestershire. While a number of those reporting sickness have not eaten with us, we are trying to understand if our pub could have played any part in illnesses reported by a very small number of our customers.

Show the public the menu, and where ingredients come from.