Conditional sentence for a chef after 1 death and 30 patients with Chinese pâté
A former pub chef in England has been given a four-month suspended prison sentence for an incident that killed one person and sickened more than 30 in 2018.
John Croucher, the former chef at Crewe Arms in Northamptonshire, was convicted last week at Reading Crown Court after admitting to breaking food regulations.
Croucher has pleaded guilty in an earlier hearing to marketing unsafe food. He was ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work in the community and to pay costs of Â£ 4,000 ($ 5,300).
Elizabeth Neuman, who was 90, died after eating shepherd’s pie in October 2018, while 31 other people reported symptoms of food poisoning after becoming ill with Clostridium perfringens. Shepherd’s pie is a dish made from minced meat and mashed potatoes.
Pub owner and landlord Neil Bellingham has admitted three counts of breaking food regulations. He has been fined Â£ 9,000 ($ 12,000) and must pay Â£ 1,000 ($ 1,300) in court costs.
The Bobcat Pub Company has been fined nearly Â£ 3,000 ($ 4,000) for failing to register a food premises, failing to implement and maintain a food safety management system, failing to not having provided supervision, instruction or training personnel and placing unsafe foods on the market.
How the incident unfolded
Croucher told the court he was in a rush at the time of the incident.
âI really hate to say it, but I think I was rushed. I was rushing. It is something that I will never forget. Because of that I’m a better chef and it’s just too bad the cost must have been what it was, âhe said, according to media reports.
The court heard that the minced meat from the shepherd’s pie had not been cooked properly the day before before it was put in the refrigerator. The next day it was cooked again with mashed potatoes but the temperature of the meat was not checked. Improper cooking, cooling and reheating of various ingredients led to contamination of the dish with Clostridium perfringens.
The day after the event, West Northamptonshire Council received a call from the event organizer to report that people had fallen ill with severe stomach cramps and diarrhea.
An investigation by environmental health officers from the council and Public Health England (now the UK Health Security Agency) uncovered numerous food hygiene violations which have led to prosecutions.
The outlet now has a five-star food hygiene rating, but in 2017 it was one star, meaning a major improvement was needed.
“This is an incredibly sad and tragic case that demonstrates the grave consequences of failure to comply with food safety regulations, and I commend the officers whose detailed investigation brought these individuals to justice in the past. ‘public safety interest,’ said David Smith of the council.
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