Care Home Fined After Outbreak of Food Poisoning
Poor hygiene at home blamed for illness of residents
The operator of a Southall care home has been fined after elderly residents became ill following an outbreak of food poisoning.
Life Style Care plc pleaded guilty to three offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and received a total penalty of £14,415.17. They were fined £3,500 for each offence and were also ordered to pay the council’s costs of £3,795.17 plus a victim surcharge of £120.
The council and Public Health England (PHE) launched an extensive investigation when six elderly residents at the Grange Care Centre, Adrienne Avenue, Southall, fell ill in December 2014. It was established the illness was linked to consumption of puréed food at the care centre, which provides accommodation for up to 160 people requiring nursing or personal care.
Samples were analysed and a bacteria called Clostridium perfringens and its toxin were found. An epidemiological study by PHE concluded that eating the puréed beef meal on 27 December was associated with a 48 times increased risk of being ill.
Council investigators found evidence of poor temperature control in relation to cooling, reheating and hot holding of puréed foods as well as problems with temperature record keeping.
Ealing Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for safety, culture and community services, Councillor Ranjit Dheer, said: “It is so important for businesses to remember that poor food hygiene can have real consequences for their customers. This awful case highlights how serious food contamination can be. Had this business reheated the food thoroughly and held it at the right temperature, the outbreak would not have happened.
“It is frightening that six vulnerable, elderly residents fell ill at The Grange Care Centre. I commend the joint efforts of Ealing’s food safety team and Public Health England for successfully dealing with this outbreak and ensuring Life Style Care paid the price.
The court heard that the company co-operated fully with the council’s investigation reporting the suspected outbreak as soon as they became aware of it. It also heard that the care centre had a good history of compliance with food law and acted on all the council’s recommendations following the incident. The Grange currently has a food hygiene rating of 4 out of 5 in the national food hygiene rating scheme.
On the same date in court, the owner of Southall food business Salama Café and Restaurant at 98 The Green was banned from taking part in the management of any food business.
Mr Mohammed Isse pleaded guilty to 10 charges under food hygiene regulations. He was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,800 towards the council’s costs as well as a victim surcharge of £25, a total penalty of £4,325.
The court heard the business had previously been prosecuted in April 2014, and between 2013 and 2015 had been subject to four emergency closures and 32 inspections. A comparable compliant business would have received just two inspections over the same period.
It was also informed that the council had received a number of complaints about the café from residents and had provided free coaching and training to assist the business.
Eight out of 10 Ealing food businesses have a food hygiene rating of 3 out of 5 or more. Residents are urged to check the food hygiene rating of local businesses at www.food.gov.uk.
Anyone concerned that a business is breaching food hygiene regulations should email email@example.com or call 020 8825 6666.
13th October 2015