UK: Abergavenny hotel fined £40,000 for salmonella outbreak

Source of Article:

1:30pm Wednesday 25th March 2009

By Natalie Crockett Ľ

AN ABERGAVENNY hotel was fined £40,000 yesterday for supplying food linked to an outbreak of salmonella.

Richard Wallace and John West, co-directors of the Llanwenarth Arms Hotel and Restaurant Ltd, Brecon Road, Abergavenny, pleaded guilty on behalf of the hotel last week (March 17) to 17 counts of breaching food safety guidelines by selling a quantity of food, kiwi parfait, which was deemed unsafe and considered injurious to health due to contamination of salmonella bacteria.

The pair also pleaded guilty on behalf of the hotel to seven counts of supplying a quantity of food deemed unsafe and unfit for human consumption due to the contamination of salmonella bacteria.

The charges relate to a period of time between April 5 and 13, 2008.

The maximum amount the hotel could have been fined was £580,000 - £20,000 for each of the 24 charges.

Abergavenny magistratesí court heard an investigation was started after Monmouthshire council received complaints from members of the public who became ill after eating at the hotelís restaurant Symptoms included a high temperature, nausea, muscle aches, diarrhoea, hallucinations and extreme stomach cramps.

Seventeen people, including two children, tested positive for salmonella, with some symptoms lasting for up to three weeks or more.

Lab tests carried out by the National Public Health Service for Wales (NPHS) revealed a kiwi parfait dessert served at the hotel's restaurant tested positive for a "high" level of salmonella bacteria containing 38,000 coli units per gram.

Christian DuCann, defending, told the court how the hotel had held an “unblemished” food safety reputation since it opened five and half years ago and relied on its suppliers to provide eggs from salmonella vaccinated flocks.

He said Wallace and West had co-operated fully with the councilís investigation, including destroying £10,000 worth of food stock and closing the hotel for a week while deep cleaning took place to prevent further contamination.

Mr DuCann added that the hotel no longer uses raw egg as an ingredient in any food served.

In addition to the fine the hotel was also ordered to pay £5,500 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

'Company can draw a line under the matter'

Speaking on behalf of Wallace and West after sentencing, Mr DuCann said: "The fine is significant but at least the company can draw a line under the matter now.

"They have a loyal customer base and see no reason why they should not continue to operate successfully in years to come without future risk to public health now that they no longer use raw eggs as an active ingredient."




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