Cumbria Crack

Care home fined £40,000 for food safety breaches

[S]outh Lakeland District Council (SLDC) says a £40,000 fine for the owners of a care home sends a strong message to businesses who store, prepare and serve food to the public.

Abbey Healthcare Ltd, which operates the Heron Hill Care Home in Kendal, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with food safety and hygiene legislation.

South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court heard how inspectors visited the care home in March 2017 and noticed meat which was beyond its expiry date being prepared to be served to residents.

The owners of the care home had previously been served two notices for hygiene breaches in 2016.

Hardeep Burnley, SLDC’s Principal Food, Licensing and Safety Officer, said: “This fine sends a strong message to all food business operators, especially to those who cater to vulnerable people such as the elderly, that providing food that is beyond its use-by date is not acceptable.

“It is important businesses regularly check their stock and train staff in their procedures so that they don’t find themselves in this position.

“Our officers work with food businesses providing advice and information to assist them in complying with food hygiene standards. However, when this advice is ignored and standards are not improved we will not hesitate to take enforcement action.”

Abbey Healthcare Ltd, which now has a new operational management team in place at Heron Hill Care Home, accepted full responsibility and told the court it was making sure it learned from previous mistakes.

Fiona Inston, SLDC’s Public Protection Manager, says cases like this are relatively rare.

“Our environmental health officers made almost 1,500 food hygiene-related visits to premises over the past year, helping to promote best practice, offer guidance and maintain the district’s excellent record of compliance.

“The public can be reassured that the overwhelming majority of business owners know the law and take their responsibilities in relation to food safety and hygiene very seriously.

“Of the 1,549 local premises on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme 1,272 have a rating of 5 which means standards are very good. However, where non-compliance is identified we will address it and take appropriate enforcement action which includes prosecution where necessary.”

Abbey Healthcare Ltd was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,899.

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