DCSIMG

School dinners made in filth

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Mould-stained cutting boards and other filthy conditions where children’s meals were prepared have landed a firm supplying schools in South Holland a court bill of £18,230.

Food 4 Thought GB Ltd has admitted 12 different food hygiene charges involving raw meat being stored next to cooked ready-to-eat ham, dirty cups being supplied to a school, dirty plastic bowls and colanders, dirty and mould-stained cutting boards, dirty floors, flaking paint and dirty walls, dirty cleaning cloths and inadequate labelling of food.

The firm displays a Lincolnshire Small and Medium Business of the Year award on the wall of its new offices in Broad Street, Spalding. At Boston Magistrates’ Court on Monday it was fined £13,800 and ordered to pay £4,300 costs at. A victim surcharge of £130 was also made.

Concerns about the cleanliness of equipment supplied to a school in the district were raised by South Holland District Council in October and environmental health officers at Boston Borough Council were alerted.

Food 4 Thought GB Ltd has admitted 12 different food hygiene charges involving raw meat being stored next to cooked ready-to-eat ham, dirty cups being supplied to a school, dirty plastic bowls and colanders, dirty and mould-stained cutting boards, dirty floors, flaking paint and dirty walls, dirty cleaning cloths and inadequate labelling of food.

The firm displays a Lincolnshire Small and Medium Business of the Year award on the wall of its new offices in Broad Street, Spalding. At Boston Magistrates’ Court on Monday it was fined £13,800 and ordered to pay £4,300 costs at. A victim surcharge of £130 was also made.

Concerns about the cleanliness of equipment supplied to a school in the district were raised by South Holland District Council in October and environmental health officers at Boston Borough Council were alerted.

A visit by environmental health officers to the firm’s unit at Boston Trade Park found poor standards of hygiene, controls and management.

Following the re-inspection, the environmental health officer noted that although a deep clean had been carried out there were still outstanding detailed cleaning issues to be addressed before the premises could be considered to be of an acceptable standard.

Magistrates expressed surprise that someone with even a basic knowledge of food hygiene had not identified issues before the visit.

The business had operated as a school meal supplier from the same site since 2006, with other locations across the county including Bourne and Stamford.

Because Food 4 Thought was involved in preparing, cooking and distributing meals to primary schools throughout south Lincolnshire it had been necessary for Boston Borough Council to approve the premises under the European Food Safety Legislation and it was expected to maintain high food safety standards at all times.

After the hearing, Coun Malcolm Chandler, South Holland District Council’s portfolio holder for environmental health, said: “Officers from our food, health and safety team take seriously their responsibilities in protecting the public and ensuring good standards of food hygiene are maintained.

“We work very closely with businesses to raise and maintain standards. We work in partnership with neighbouring authorities and agencies to ensure that geographical boundaries are not an obstacle.

“The business in question supplies a number of school meals within South Holland District Council’s area and I believe the public, and in particular parents, will be assured by the action taken.”

Food 4 Thought’s Caroline Clark said: “We remain committed to food hygiene in our operation, as our case mentioned we admitted that at the time standards did fall below those which we and the local authority endeavour to keep to only the highest levels.

“We would like to reassure our customers that the findings are not of recent visits to the site, but a single one-off historic visit. Upon receiving the report, for which this prosecution started from, some six months ago, we immediately re-recruited our management team and gave further training to the area manager.

“We are confident that following our senior management actions, the site immediately reverted to the highest of standards, as evidenced in our last official star rating of 5/5.

“However, we have also requested another visit from the district, as soon as possible, so that following the court hearing, we can again evidence our commitment to food hygiene.”

A mother of two pupils of Weston Hills Primary School says she is not prepared to give the firm another chance.

She told the Spalding Guardian: “You send your children to school and pay for the meals and expect food hygiene to be top priority and to be floating food hygiene regulations in this way I am disgusted. I am stopping school meals.”

The Spalding Guardian understands that Food 4 thought wishes to challenge the council over information released about the matter. However, the council says it stands by the information as published.

Anyone wanting to report an issue in South Holland for investigation should contact the district council’s food, health and safety team on 01775 761161.

 

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