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Wedding guests poisoned by pâté starter at golf club

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 29, 2012

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A wedding venue has been fined £25,000 after 46 guests at a reception were poisoned by the pâté starter – including one who was hospitalised.

More than half the guests were taken ill after consuming the duck liver paste at Mendip Spring Golf Club in Congresbury, North Somerset.

Two of the victims suffered diarrhoea for ten days and one unlucky diner was admitted to hospital with the effects of food poisoning. The owner of the venue, Yeo Finance Ltd, has now been fined £25,000 over the incident and director Ian Harrison, 53, has been ordered to pay £3,000.

Magistrates at North Somerset Courthouse in Weston-super-Mare heard how the pâté was served as a starter at the wedding in April.

But nine days later the bride’s mother contacted North Somerset Council’s food hygiene department after 46 of the 86 guests fell ill.

A 79-year-old guest suffered from diarrhoea for ten days, and others were crippled by stomach cramps.

The couple, who have not been named, issued a statement which was read out to the court. They said: “We feel utterly humiliated that everyone had to be contacted. It was extremely embarrassing to hear how people have been ill. Our special day wasn’t as special as we hoped, or Mendip Spring promised. Our guests and us will never forget this. Sadly no-one can change memories.”

A check by food safety officers at the golf club found harmful bacteria in another batch of duck liver pate, which was on the menu as a special.

The head chef, Jamie Stockden, had the minimum amount of food hygiene qualifications.

Mr Harrison pleaded guilty to three counts of contravening food hygiene regulations concerning staff training, failing to recognise food preparation hazards and failing to prove compliant with such hazards.

Yeo Finance Ltd also pleaded guilty to two counts of serving unsafe food.

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