C. perfringens: UK Christmas Day diner died and dozens seriously ill after Xmas turkey lunch at pub ‘where staff paid lip service to safety procedures’

A Christmas Day diner died and dozens of others became seriously ill after eating their turkey lunch at a pub where staff paid ‘lip service’ to safety procedures, a court heard today.

grinch.beastMother-of-one Della Callagher, 46, died after paying £39.95 for the four-course lunch at the Railway Hotel, Hornchurch, Essex, on Christmas Day 2012.

She was among 33 people who fell ill following the alleged outbreak of food poisoning, later attributed to a bacteria known as Clostridium perfringens.

The restaurant’s former owner Ann McSweeney, 40, and ex-chef Mehmet Kaya, 37, deny serving food that was unfit for human consumption.

The pub’s parent company, Mitchell and Butlers PLC, based in Birmingham, also deny the charge at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

McSweeney, of Hornchurch, and Kaya, of Purfleet, Essex, also deny perverting the course of justice by falsifying records in a ‘daily kitchen due diligence log’ relating to the cooking and cooling of turkey meat.

The pair are accused of failing to properly monitor the temperature of the turkey as it cooked.

Following the incident, they allegedly falsified their food safety records to hand to health and safety inspectors.

McSweeney further denies obstructing an officer in the course of their duty by handing the falsified documents to food safety inspectors.

Andrew Campbell-Tiech, prosecuting, told the court: ‘Mehmet Kaya grossly, grossly mismanaged the preparation of the Christmas turkey.

‘By that act he caused his employer, the company, to place unsafe food before its customers on Christmas Day.

‘Miss McSweeney was in overall charge. She knew, she must have known, that Mr Kaya did not follow safety procedures. Her default is clear, she should have intervened. She did not.’

Referring to the charge of perverting the course of justice, Mr Campbell-Tiech said: ‘The actions of Miss McSweeney and Mr Kaya in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy were not those of innocent actors caught up in a tragedy not of their making.

Mr Campbell-Tiech claimed the kitchen logbooks showed ‘the kitchen of The Railway Hotel paid lip service only to the systems the company had prescribed but did not enforce’.

The trial continues.

Wales to close only public food safety lab

I’m big on my Welsh heritage as I get older, but not sure I understand this.

hugh.pennigtonUK food safety go-to-person, Groundhog Day’s Hugh Pennington, says the closure of Wales’ only publicly-run food testing laboratory due to cuts mean councils may struggle to respond to another incident like the horsemeat scandal, and that relying on private laboratories could create problems in times of crisis.

Cardiff council said cuts had forced the closure but it would ensure public safety was maintained.

Eight other local authorities also use the laboratory.

It means the councils, like others around Wales, will contract-out the testing to privately-run facilities.

But Prof Pennington, an expert on bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said: “If you don’t have [a publicly-run lab] you could get into serious difficulties.

Prof Pennington led the investigation into the 2005 E. coli outbreak in south Wales

tipton.slasher.statue“Like horsemeat, where something comes out of the blue and suddenly there’s an enormous issue, the public want it resolved and you have to work out if there’s a public health threat.

“You have to work out what the scale of the problem is and you need some sort of central authority working for the public to do that.

“You can’t do that just by relying on outsourcing all your testing.”

The moves Wales has taken to stop future outbreaks of E.coli

Positive progress has been made by the majority of Welsh local authorities in preventing future outbreaks of E.coli, a new report has found.

mason.jonesThe Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food and Feed Law Enforcement Review in Wales, commissioned in January 2014, looked at what progress has been made to implement recommendations of the Pennington inquiry following a serious outbreak nine years ago.

Five-year-old Mason Jones, from Deri, near Bargoed, Rhymney Valley, died in 2005 and more than 150 others fell ill with the O157 strain across Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taff.

The outbreak, which struck 44 schools, was the UK’s second biggest.

But the new report, which was unveiled at the Royal Welsh Show, said most councils had “acted decisively” to implement recommendations of the 2009 Pennington inquiry.

powell_tipton_slasher_10_0_storyGwynedd Council was singled out as the only exception.

The FSA set up a food hygiene delivery programme in response to the inquiry’s recommendations and developed a programme of work to improve food hygiene delivery and enforcement across the UK.

Local authority data has confirmed there have been significant improvements in the proportion of food businesses in Wales which are compliant with food hygiene law.

The report said the introduction of the food hygiene rating scheme – known as “scores on the doors” – and collaborative working between local authorities, the FSA and the Welsh Government has empowered consumers to make informed choices about where they eat.

Wales is the only part of the UK where all businesses must display their rating by law.

Food hygiene ratings: why Wales did the ‘dirty dozen’

The dirty dozen in the U.S. is equated with pesticide resides on produce items and largely bullshit.

However, residents of North Wales have shown unprecedented interest in the standard of food hygiene in our local restaurants, takeaways and food shops since the Daily Post first published a series highlighting ‘North Wales’s dirty dozen’, highlighting the local establishments which received a zero rating for hygiene, as ruled by the Food Standards Authority.  

bullshitThere were criticisms that the Daily Post went “too hard” on these food outlets, as some of the owners had claimed that the negative rating was due to poor document keeping or incomplete paperwork.

Daily Post editor Mark Thomas writes, we have done a lot to promote and encourage excellence in our small businesses, and will continue to do so, but I believe we also have a duty to share with you issues like this which ought to be of concern to you as consumers.

That is not sensationalist, or inaccurate reporting. It is us doing our job for you.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme means that people can choose instead to eat out or buy food at places with higher ratings and businesses with low ratings are in danger of losing customers and so will be encouraged to improve standards more quickly and to maintain these in the future.

Fancy food ain’t safe food – Welsh curry edition

A curry house voted the best in Wales only last year has been fined £10,000 after food hygiene inspectors found rat droppings on the premises.

The owners of Llanymynech’s Bengal Spices, Rabiul Alam, 34, and Mizanur Chowdhury, 43, pleaded guilty to nine food hygiene breaches when they appeared at Llandrindod Magistrates Court this week.

Llanymynech’s Bengal SpicesThe restaurant was closed in November 2013 after Powys County Council (PCC) received a complaint from a member of the public.

Nigel Vaughan, prosecuting, said that inspectors found rat droppings in the toilets and the lobby near the kitchen area.

They also found evidence of “gnawing”.

Mr Vaughan said the restaurant displayed “unacceptable standards of cleanliness” and food premises, articles, fittings and equipment were not kept in a “clean condition”.

The court heard the restaurant had also failed to ensure food was thawed safely, while other food was found uncovered.

The owners also admitted to failing to follow procedures based on the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) procedure.
Magistrates heard they had signed off to confirm daily checks had been carried out.

17 now sick with Salmonella from Welsh laverbread outbreak

Five new cases of Salmonella with possible links to laverbread have emerged in the past week bringing the total number to 17, said Public Health Wales.

Tests are continuing to confirm whether they are all linked to the outbreak, which has nine confirmed cases so far.

laverbreadCases have been reported across south and west Wales.

Three people have needed hospital treatment, but have been discharged.

Health officials said a study has confirmed a strong association with laverbread from Penclawdd Shellfish Processing Ltd, probably produced and distributed between 5 and 8 March.

Last week, the company voluntarily withdrew its laverbread from sale as a precaution.

Samples taken from its Swansea factory have not shown any evidence of Salmonella in either food or in the environment, said Public Health Wales.

Laverbread is the boiled and minced laver seaweed, often fried with bacon and cockles as a traditional Welsh breakfast dish. The seaweed is eaten worldwide, especially in Asia, and is often used in Japanese sushi dishes.

12 sick with Salmonella in Wales, laverbread suspected

It may be the Welshman’s caviar, but laverbread – excessively boiled seaweed, the green goop on the breakfast plate – is suspected in a Salmonella outbreak that has so far sickened 12.

As a precaution, a local company, Penclawdd Shellfish Processing Ltd, has voluntarily withdrawn its laverbread from sale.

The product is available at a number of high street retailers and laverbreadPenclawdd is the only supplier of laverbread to Tesco.

PHW is recommending that anyone who has laverbread at home that may have been produced by Penclawdd throws it away and does not eat it.  Anyone who is unsure where their laverbread was produced should check with the retailer where it was purchased.

Dr Jörg Hoffmann, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said, “Laverbread is generally a safe product to eat, and it remains unclear whether it is indeed the source of this outbreak.  However, given that we cannot rule out laverbread at present, it is very important that, to avoid the risk of illness, anyone with this product at home does not eat it.”

Failing food hygiene standards in Welsh primary schools, playgroups and after schools clubs

Hundreds of children and elderly people are being served “substandard” food from kitchens which have failed food hygiene inspections.

Eight primary schools, three after school clubs, four playgroups, and 10 nursery and pre-schools across Wales scored just one or two on the 0-5 rating system in the last 12 months.

Elderly people have also been affected as 30 care homes, three day centres and one wales.food.hygine.grade.feb.14supported living complex were also given hygiene ratings of just one or two.

If a premises drops below a rating of three, their hygiene standards are considered inadequate.

All the inspections were carried out in the last year and are the most recent published on the FSA website – but some schools may have been re-inspected since.

Don’t poop in the pool; 20 sickened; Welsh pool reopens after cryptosporidiosis cases

A swimming pool in Newport, Wales, where the Powell name is vaguely recognized, has reopened after 20 people were infected with cryptosporidium last month.

Newport Centre swimming pool was closed by the city council after the cases of cryptosporidium were confirmed.

The council said it was “100% satisfied everything is in order” after the pool was drained and re-grouted.

Public Health Wales (PHW) has urged swimmers to adopt better hygiene after seeing a rise in cases of the bug, which can survive chlorine in pools.

Meanwhile the BBC also reported a restaurant chain has apologized for accidentally serving whiskey to a two-year-old.

Frankie and Benny’s said on Thursday it was extremely sorry for Saturday’s incident and is looking into what systems need to be put in place to ensure that it does not happen again.

2 children sickened; E .coli O157 outbreak linked to animals in Welsh petting farm

Investigations into an E. coli outbreak in Mid Wales which affected two children have linked the infection to animals at a local petting farm.

Public Health Wales and colleagues in three local authorities and the Health Protection Agency have been investigating the outbreak of E. coli O157 since September and found the type of infection in the patients matched examples from animals at Cantref Adventure Farm in Brecon.

Both children had visited the farm in the days before they became unwell, and both are recovering at home.

Three other people, who are family members of the infected children, have also tested positive for the same type of E.coli O157. 

The farm has been advised to continue to stop direct contact between animals and members of the public while the exact source of infection is investigated.

A table of petting zoo outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/petting-zoos-outbreaks.

Erdozain G, Kukanich K, Chapman B, Powell D. 2012. Observation of public health risk behaviours, risk communication and hand hygiene at Kansas and Missouri petting zoos – 2010-2011. Zoonoses Public Health. 2012 Jul 30. doi: 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01531.x. [Epub ahead of print]

Outbreaks of human illness have been linked to visiting settings with animal contact throughout developed countries. This paper details an observational study of hand hygiene tool availability and recommendations; frequency of risky behavior; and, handwashing attempts by visitors in Kansas (9) and Missouri (4), U.S., petting zoos. Handwashing signs and hand hygiene stations were available at the exit of animal-contact areas in 10/13 and 8/13 petting zoos respectively. Risky behaviors were observed being performed at all petting zoos by at least one visitor. Frequently observed behaviors were: children (10/13 petting zoos) and adults (9/13 petting zoos) touching hands to face within animal-contact areas; animals licking children’s and adults’ hands (7/13 and 4/13 petting zoos, respectively); and children and adults drinking within animal-contact areas (5/13 petting zoos each). Of 574 visitors observed for hand hygiene when exiting animal-contact areas, 37% (n=214) of individuals attempted some type of hand hygiene, with male adults, female adults, and children attempting at similar rates (32%, 40%, and 37% respectively). Visitors were 4.8x more likely to wash their hands when a staff member was present within or at the exit to the animal-contact area (136/231, 59%) than when no staff member was present (78/343, 23%; p<0.001, OR=4.863, 95% C.I.=3.380-6.998). Visitors at zoos with a fence as a partial barrier to human-animal contact were 2.3x more likely to wash their hands (188/460, 40.9%) than visitors allowed to enter the animals’ yard for contact (26/114, 22.8%; p<0.001, OR= 2.339, 95% CI= 1.454-3.763). Inconsistencies existed in tool availability, signage, and supervision of animal-contact. Risk communication was poor, with few petting zoos outlining risks associated with animal-contact, or providing recommendations for precautions to be taken to reduce these risks.