UK: CHELSFIELD: £40,000 fine after nursery salmonella outbreak

Source of Article:


11:08am Thursday 28th May 2009

By Court reporter »

A JUDGE who fined a company £40,000 for a salmonella outbreak at a nursery said she would have imposed a harsher penalty if it was possible.

Bromley Council closed down Cannock House Day Nursery in Hawstead Lane, Chelsfield, in March 2007 after 147 people got ill, including 139 children, some of which were taken to hospital.

Yesterday (May 27) at a sentencing hearing at Croydon Crown Court, Judge Heather Baucher said: “We could have been dealing with a number of fatalities here.”

Cannock House Day Nursery Ltd, which was operating the nursery at the time, was prosecuted by Bromley Council and pleaded guilty in February to two counts of breaching its duty of care under the Health and Safety Act 1974.

The court heard about poor conditions at the nursery, which had 215 youngsters on its books at the time of the outbreak.

The judge said: “I do consider this to be a grievous breach. I can see for myself that the premises were in a state.”

Inspectors found salmonella on a chopping board and mixing bowls in the nursery's kitchen.

The prosecution suggested the outbreak may have been caused when raw eggs were used in the bowls which were not washed properly.

It also said staff at the nursery had made repeated requests for new equipment but a refusal to spend money had allowed things to slide.

The company was ordered to pay £20,000 for each charge and the remainder of the company’s assets is to be given to the prosecution towards its costs.

Judge Baucher said that as the company only has assets of around £42,000 she was unable to impose a greater fine.

She made it "absolutely clear" she would have imposed a larger penalty if the company had more cash.

Since May last year the nursery has been operated by Child Base Limited, a company unconnected with the previous operator.



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