A catering company has been fined £20,111 after, allegedly, hundreds of wedding guests were struck with food poisoning from eating contaminated rice.
Ealing Council’s food safety team were first alerted by the father of the bride on September 24, 2013, who contacted them claiming that 90% of the 470 wedding guests were suffering with food poisoning.
However, the prosecution could only be based on the 93 guests who formally reported their symptoms of food poisoning to investigators.
The incident comes after four Ealing borough food sellers, including Pizza Hut in Southall, were closed down by food safety inspectors.
Greenford catering company, the Royal Club, was given a £20,111 penalty by Ealing Magistrates Court on Tuesday November 25. The company’s sole director, Mr Biku Thapa, was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and is banned from being a director of any company for five years.
Investigators linked the food poisoning with rice prepared by the Royal Club of 116 – 118 Ruislip Road, Greenford, which a Public Health England food examiner found to be 'potentially injurious to health and/or unfit for human consumption'. It was found to contain E.coli - a bacteria associated with faecal contamination - and Bacillus bacteria.
Inspections of the Royal Club kitchen revealed serious food hygiene violations. Only one member of staff was trained in food safety. Both the head chef and remaining staff had not received any food safety training at all. Inspectors also discovered that The Royal Club had no refrigerated vehicles in which to safely transport food to events.
The Royal Club has now been taken over by the Dar Maig Company. It is now being run by fully trained and qualified staff and has passed all required health and safety regulations.
Councillor Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for community services and safety at Ealing Council, said: "This awful case highlights how serious food contamination can be. It’s frightening that so many people were struck down at a large event like this and even more alarming to think there could have been fatal consequences. It’s especially sad that a happy occasion like a wedding should have ended up like this."