Poisoning leads to hygiene warning20th January, 2013 by Colin Victor
A local councillor has warned all golf clubs in the country to take food hygiene seriously after one club’s owner was fined nearly £33k because wedding guests became ill.
Yeo Finance, which owns Mendip Spring Golf Club in Somerset, has had the levy imposed by magistrates after more than half of the 86 guests at a reception last April were poisoned by a duck liver pate starter. Two suffered diarrohea for ten days and one was admitted to hospital.
North Somerset Council was contacted nine days after the reception by the mother of the bride. It immediately sent a questionnaire to all the guests, which 78 replied to. Of those, 46 said they had been ill, with some having to take up to a week off work due to headaches and stomach cramp.
The council’s food and safety team then visited the club, and, following an investigation, found that the pate had not been cooked sufficiently and that food poisoning bacteria was in the dish.
The council also discovered that the chef did have food hygiene qualifications but mandatory training for staff was not fully complied with.
Yeo Finance and one of its directors, who has been manager of the golf club for the last 15 years, pleaded guilty to three offences relating to the contravention of food hygiene regulations and the company pleaded guilty to an additional two offences of serving unsafe food.
The council’s executive member whose portfolio includes food and safety, Peter Bryant, said: “It is a basic fundamental requirement to ensure the safety of food. The level of the fine imposed reflects how seriously the magistrates viewed this case.
“We will not hesitate to take legal action when there are serious breaches of food safety and especially when these breaches are detrimental to people’s health.”
The married couple released a statement that said: “We feel utterly humiliated. It was extremely embarrassing to hear how people have been ill. Our guests and us will never forget this.”
Yeo Finance has apologised to the couple and given them a full refund.