The owners of a Nottingham takeaway have been fined more than £50,000, after an outbreak of E.coli affected 142 customers, including children.
Mohammad Abdul Basit and Amjad Bhatti appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on 23 September, after pleading guilty to breaches of food hygiene regulations at a previous hearing.
Basit and Bhatti are owners of the Khyber Pass restaurant on Gregory Boulevard in Nottingham. In June 2014, a rare strain of E.coli –
Enteroinvasive Ecoli (EIEC) – was discovered by food inspectors, who shut down the takeaway.
EIEC is only found in the human gut and inspectors from Nottingham City Council’s Food and Health and Safety concluded that those affected must have eaten food prepared at Khyber Pass, which had been contaminated with human faeces.
The outbreak is believed to be only the second outbreak of its kind in Europe.
The council’s Outbreak Plan was initiated and two Environmental Health investigating officers and two sampling officers visited the takeaway the same day.
Food samples were taken for examination and a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served to close the takeaway immediately. A Magistrates’ Court Order was subsequently obtained to keep the premises closed.
An Outbreak Control Team was set up, involving City Council Environmental Health Officers, Public Health England (PHE) and PHE laboratory specialists.
By 27 June, a total of 13 cases of illness had been linked to the food outlet, including children who were being treated in Paediatric Intensive Care for multiple organ failure, including renal failure.
The court was told that E.coli was suspected at this point and more cases were reported. Some patients suffered long-term health impacts, with ongoing symptoms 30 days after the onset of illness.
Laboratory analysis of faecal specimens from patients isolated EIEC in 24 samples – which included samples from four of the food handlers working at the Khyber Pass.
Laboratory examination of food samples taken by the investigating team isolated the same strain of EIEC in lettuce prepared by food workers at the takeaway.
Basit and Bhatt faced charges including selling food unfit for human consumption, inadequate personal cleanliness of food workers – and inadequate hand washing facilities and drainage.
Both men were both handed a four-month jail term, suspended for 12 months and were fined £200 per victim – a total of £28,400 – as well as court costs of £25,700. They were each ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid community work.
After sentencing, Nottingham City Council’s Food and Health and Safety Team Leader Paul Dales said:
“This was a significant and serious food poisoning outbreak affecting a large number of people, some of whom developed severe symptoms.
“It’s fortunate there were no fatalities, as this is a strain of E.coli is rarely found in the developed world – this being only the second confirmed outbreak in Europe.
“Decisive and swift action by Environmental Health Officers to close the food outlet ensured no more people were infected by EIEC.
“We will always take action – including prosecution – to ensure people eating out in Nottingham are safe, and those operating food outlets are clear about what their responsibilities are.”
Duncan Lewis Personal Injury Solicitors – No win no fee Food Poisoning Claims
Duncan Lewis personal injury solicitors can advise those who suffer food poisoning symptoms as a result of negligence on how to make a no win no fee claim for compensation, including claims relating to food poisoning contracted in the UK (restaurants, work canteens, schools and colleges, hospitals or care homes), or during package holidays abroad.
Food poisoning compensation claims have to be made within three years of illness or diagnosis of illness – children can make claims for food poisoning up to the age of 21.
For expert legal advice on no win no fee Food Poisoning Claims, call Duncan Lewis personal injury solicitors of 020 7923 4020.