Huge fine for Nailsea pub food poisoning

Old Farmhouse in Trendlewood Way. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Old Farmhouse in Trendlewood Way. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A business has been ordered to pay more than £18,000 after 186 people contracted food poisoning after dining at a pub on Mother’s Day.

M & M Hospitality was fined after scores of people reported stomach cramps and sickness and diarrhoea after dining at The Old Farmhouse Pub in Nailsea on March 11 last year.

More than 390 people booked for the carvery, with dozens of people calling North Somerset Council’s food and health department and Public Health England the next day to report food poisoning.

Officers took samples of the beef, lamb and gravy and all three foods tested positive for clostridium perfringens.

In a letter to the court, the firm’s director Eric Montgomery said it was a ‘tragic incident’ and said he was ‘ashamed’ it happened.

Mr Montgomery pleaded guilty to placing unsafe food on the market and failing to update the appropriate food health and safety documents.

The food had contracted the bacteria through the cooking process as the meat was cooked at a low temperature overnight and kept warm for the carvery – instead of being cooked quickly at a high temperature.

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Emma Thompson, prosecuting, told the court the business’s food safety document was also outdated.

She said: “The offender fell far short of the appropriate standards allowing breaches of food safety to exist.”

Mr Montgomery, aged 49 of Crown Road in Marnhull, pleaded guilty to the charges when he appeared at North Somerset Courthouse, in St Georges, on Friday.

He was fined £10,000 for placing unsafe food on the market, £4,000 for failing to ensure the relevant food safety documentation was in place and ordered to pay £4,765 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

Mr Mongtomery left the pub in August last year. The Old Farmhouse is now under new management and holds a five-star food hygiene rating.