Food business fined £4,000 over salmonella contamination

A food company has been fined £4,000 after it supplied a spice mix which contained salmonella.

An investigation into Catermix in Syston, Leicestershire, was launched by Charnwood County Council after another authority found the bacteria in tikka spicing supplied to a company in Preston.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard how health officers discovered Catermix was mixing the spices in the back of a van which was dirty and had an old carpet on the floor. The spices were also being stored in a garage which was dirty and damp.

The Food Standards Agency also had to issue a recall notice for items containing the spice mix, resulting in one company having to withdraw more than 6000 products.

Generic photo of spice mix Credit: PA

Chhagan Patel, the director of Catermix, said that mixing the spices in the back of the van was a last resort after his previous manufacturer had closed in May 2015, and he believed the conditions were acceptable. He accepted he did not carry out any microbiological checks on the final products which he supplied.

Mr Patel told magistrates he had health issues, cared for his wife and the company had no assets or cash.

The company pleaded guilty to six charges, including 'failing to ensure that at all stages of food production the food was protected against contamination', and was fined £4,000 by the magistrates.

Following the court case, Charnwood borough councillor David Hayes, who is deputy lead member for Regulatory Services, said: