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Council chief says £200,000 fine for company after Burntwood wedding food poisoning incident sends a strong message over importance of food safety

A councillor says a £200,000 fine given to a catering company will send a firm message to companies about the need to enforce robust food safety procedures.

Galloping Gourmet (Coulsdon) Ltd admitted two food hygiene offences after the wedding of Burntwood couple Paul and Vikki Kemp in October 2017.

Vikki and Phil Kemp on their wedding day
Vikki and Phil Kemp on their wedding day

The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 costs at Cannock Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard how it had provided a hog roast which was contaminated with salmonella, leaving 58 people ill, including the groom and forcing the happy couple to cancel their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic.

Angela Lax
Angela Lax

Councillor Angela Lax, Cabinet member for legal and regulatory at Lichfield District Council, said: “It does not matter how successful a company is, or its size, this case shows that good food safety procedures must always be at the heart of every food businesses. 

“The Galloping Gourmet (Coulsdon) Ltd did not take their customers’ health and safety seriously enough and they now face a large fine and costs.

“We really sympathise with Mr and Mrs Kemp who had their wedding day ruined and missed out on their honeymoon due to dangerously undercooked food.

“The level of the penalty shows how serious a case this is, and it sends a warning to others in the catering industry to make sure they always follow food safety guidelines.

“This has been a huge case to investigate, involving more than 80 people, which among others included Public Health England, a Consultant in communicable disease, the Food Standards Agency, the Meat Hygiene Service, Defra and other local authorities.

“We are all pleased with this successful prosecution and the level of the penalty, and hope it will drive up food safety standards across the industry.”

A spokesperson for Galloping Gourmet said: “We can’t express how sorry we are for the distress and discomfort this incident caused.

“Food safety is a responsibility we take extremely seriously. Our priority is to serve safe, tasty and well-presented food and drink to our customers, but on this isolated occasion, our food safety procedures were not followed correctly.

“We have investigated the incident thoroughly and made a significant investment in technology to improve our procedures and minimise the possibility for individual human error.

“Since we started out in 1990, we have served well over a million people and we’ve never had a problem like this before. However, we have accepted full responsibility today and we are confident that the changes we’ve made will help ensure that this never happens again.”

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3 Comments

  1. Philip Allso

    22nd October, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Personal hygiene is often the major culprit. Basically, if you eat out, there is a real possibility you will end up eating someone else’s s..t. Many investigations have proved this and along with inadequate storage lead to this sort of infection. This incident is described by Angela Lax as ‘Huge.’ It is not that uncommon. Like all statistics it is manageable in our minds. The much larger figure (36,000) who die every year in Britain from pollution (mainly air pollution) is harder to comprehend although it is a regular feature of the news media. Whenever I have contacted the Lichfield District Council on this issue they have remained adamantly evasive. Statistics apparently do not apply to Lichfield. They do not even carry out their own impact analysis on new developments (the developers contractors do them !?). Perhaps if Angela Lax was prepared to address this issue with the intention of mitigating some of the worst aspects somthing useful might be achieved.

  2. Asellus aquaticus

    22nd October, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    I think 58 cases of food poisoning at one sitting is pretty significant, Philip. I don’t think you can dismiss this as a typical case of occasional poor personal hygiene.

  3. Philip Allso

    22nd October, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    On the contrary Asellus aquaticus as my wife and the staff at her school were all infected by salmonella poisoning at a Lichfield restaurant (she was pregnant at the time) it is not a subject I treat as insignificant. I particularly wanted to expose the further dangers of pollution. It is the elephant in the room with children suffering lifetime consequences and those with respiratory problems being further compromised. The death figures are verifiable. Developments in Lichfield do not take proper recognition of this. If you walk through the narrow streets of Lichfield or your children are dropped off for school in idling traffic the intake of gasses and micro particulates are damaging. I can only see this getting worse with the exponential growth now going on. Salmonella can kill you but probably won’t. Exhaust pollution can’t be seen but it will lead to health issues which can be lifelong and possibly fatal.

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