Butcher fined for ‘risking E. coli outbreak’

MDL100123B6 - Ilkeston Market Place
MDL100123B6 - Ilkeston Market Place

An Ilkeston Market butcher, who washed his hands on a bloodstained cloth, risked an outbreak of E. coli, a court has heard.

Philip Whiting, 62, switched between cooked and raw meat although he was warned this could cause a food poisoning outbreak.

“It is lucky we are not here detailing some sort of outbreak of e-coli as a result of cross-contamination,” said Lisa Gilligan for Erewash Borough Council.

A £4,000 fine with costs of £150 and a £15 surcharge were ordered from Whiting. He admitted five breaches of food hygiene regulations on March 1 last year.

The JPs were shown photographs taken by environmental health officers who called unannounced at his trailer.

One picture was of a bucket of water - containing a bloodied cloth – where he used to wash his hands.

A cooked meat slicer was rusty and there was a dirty knife used for the cutting of cooked meats, the court in Derby heard on Monday.

Miss Gilligan said all butchers in Erewash were sent letters and a DVD after two people died in 2006 when there was cross-contamination of raw and cooked food. The visit was later made to Whiting’s trailer on the Market Place.

“There was an unacceptable risk of cross-contamination with Mr Whiting handling meat and moving immediately to serve ready-to-eat food like cheese, pork pies and cooked meat.

“Obviously there was a risk of cross-contamination and it was quite shocking to the council officers,” added Miss Gilligan.

Rob Langton, mitigating, said it was ‘ironical’ that Whiting had already ordered a new £15,000 trailer at the time of the council visit.

This arrived in May and is fitted with hand-washing facilities and storage allowing him to keep items apart.

Whiting accepted it could have been ‘an awful lot better’ at the time of the visit and has now stopped selling cooked meats, which were the main ‘problematic issue’.

Mr Langton told the court: “The trailer is cleaned on a daily basis. It is bleached for the next day’s trading.”

He said Whiting deserved credit for promptly pleading guilty and taking steps to put things right.

“There is nothing to suggest there had been any contamination which resulted in illness,” added Mr Langton.

Whiting, who sells on Ilkeston Market three times a week, had never been in trouble before.

Presiding magistrate Keith Robinson said: “What aggravates this offence is that you received many warnings, letters and guidance from Erewash Borough Council.”