A restaurant has recently been fined over £100,000 in relation to an outbreak of E.coli 0157 which occurred back in 2012, this was the second outbreak within in 3 months related to the restaurant. At least 141 people reported illness and 19 people were admitted to hospital.

E.coli are bacteria normally found in the gastro intestinal tract of humans and animals and can be associated with unwashed fruit and vegetables, raw meat, particularly beef and unpasteurised milk. The 0157 is very infectious and only a small number of bacteria are required to cause illness. This strain is potentially fatal to vulnerable people and control is vital to prevent infection. Cross contamination is the most common cause of spread and stringent controls must be in place to avoid the bacteria from spreading.

Following the sentencing, the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland (PHA) investigated the outbreak and published a report. There was strong evidence that the cause of the outbreak was from infected food handlers who tested positive for the illness. It is thought the likely vehicle for spread was chopped parsley used to garnish the dishes by the infected staff members.

If any of your colleagues report gastroenteritis, they must be excluded from work and not return until they have been symptom free for 48 hours.

In addition, you must ensure you comply with the Food Standards Agency E.coli guidance and have adequate separation of raw and ready to eat foods during all stages of food production. In addition you must keep documented procedures comprising of a comprehensive Food Safety Management System and provide adequate staff training.

Shieldyourself have a team of experienced Environmental Health Practitioners who are able to help you in the development of a Food Safety Management System.

For more information and to find out how we can support you with a bespoke Food Safety Management System please contact us on 020 3740 3744 or email hello@shieldsafety.co.uk.