for the month of December, 2014

Property developer and builder in court over death at construction site

1st of December 2014

A Middlesex property development firm and a Buckinghamshire contractor have been ordered to pay a total of over £180,000 for safety failings after a worker was killed whilst driving a dumper truck during construction works at a former military base in Buckinghamshire.

Geoffrey Crow, 48, from Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, sustained fatal crush injuries in the incident at the former RAF Chenies site on 13 February 2012. The dumper fell into a deep and completely unguarded excavation, overturned and landed directly on top of him. He was killed instantly by the five-tonne machine.

Harrow-based Lois Gastoneaux Ltd and Michael Brett, a self-employed contractor working on the site at the time, were sentenced today (20 November) after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified serious safety breaches in their operations.

St Albans Crown Court heard that Mr Crow, known to his friends as ‘Geoff’, was working at ground level whilst others were working to excavate a deep basement for a swimming pool at a new build property belonging to the sole director of Lois Gastoneaux Ltd, Mr Kevin Andrews.

The dumper went into the large excavation, which was up to 6.5 metres deep, shortly after he had freed the vehicle when it became stuck near the unguarded edge.

The HSE investigation found that despite operations being underway for some three weeks at the site, there were no measures in place to prevent people or vehicles falling into the excavation, or to prevent any collapse of the excavation faces onto those working below ground.

Additionally none of the workers on site, five including Mr Crow, were used to operating plant machinery, such as excavators and dumpers, as large as those they were asked to use here. Neither did they have relevant construction experience despite being tasked with digging such a large excavation.

The seat belt on the machine Mr Crow was driving was not operational at the time of the incident, and his colleagues also stated they would not usually wear seatbelts when operating the machines.

The court was told the range of issues were all contributory factors in the death, and that standards at the site fell well below those expected.

Lois Gastoneaux Ltd, from Harrow, Middlesex, was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £28,033 in costs after pleading guilty to / being found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulations 37(6) and 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Michael Brett, of Lodge Lane, Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs after pleading guilty to / being found guilty of breaching Regulation 37(6) and Regulation 31(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Speaking after sentencing HSE Inspector Stephen Manley, said:

“Working with construction plant can be extremely dangerous, which is why appropriate safety measures must be in place at all times to protect workers and others onsite.

“In this instance, Mr Crow died as a direct consequence of the lack of controls of the risks involved in the excavation operations. There was no protection whatsoever to ensure workers, whether driving machinery or otherwise, did not fall into the deep excavation.

“A number of people were at work with Mr Crow and they were all at risk of serious harm through the absence of physical controls, as well as poor maintenance of equipment and a lack of training and information provided to workers.

“There are clear industry standards setting out how to identify and manage risks, and guidance is widely available. So there is no excuse to let operations continue without having the proper health and safety measures in place..”



Must be UK: 7 Cambridgeshire restaurants and takeaways score lowest ‘zero’ raiting

1st of December 2014

Seven establishments in Cambridgeshire have received a zero rating for their standards of food hygiene – the worst possible score.

The Food Standards Agency zero rating indicates that urgent improvement is necessary and it is used to indicate how closely businesses comply with food hygiene Inspectors of zero-rated Spring Restaurant, in Mill Road, Cambridge, found “there were no handwashing soap or towels near the wash basin” and that “a large number of mouse bait boxes under the work surface” indicated a previous mouse problem.

The restaurant was last inspected on August 19 and its manager was unavailable for comment when contacted by the News.


Meanwhile Zahra Grill, in Trumpington Road, Cambridge, which received a zero-rating on September 4, was found to have refrigerated food above the legal temperature of 8C and left “dead fly legs” on its dishes from a nearby electronic fly killer.

Since its inspection Zahra Grill, which was based on Trumpington Road, has ceased trading and the site is under the new management of Zahza Grill.


Zahza Grill is currently undergoing its registration process with Cambridge City Council and is yet to have its new business hygiene inspection.

The man in charge of Zahra Grill when it was rated zero, who did not wish to be named, said: “At the time refurbishment for the kitchen was near completion and management was still in the process, which caused the low rating. The kitchen is now brand new with new management.


“Once rated again it will be a 5 rating. It’s a new modern Indian restaurant with amazing grill dishes.”

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, which scores establishments from 0 to 5, is run by local authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Wales in partnership with the Food Standards Agency.


During an inspection, a local authority food safety officer examines different factors including how hygienically food is handled and the building’s structure, such as its ventilation and lighting.

The inspector also assesses how the business manages and records its food safety measures before giving it a score, with zero being the lowest and five the highest.


Restaurants are not the only type of business to be scored for food hygiene and food inspectors also visit schools, hospitals, residential care homes, bakeries and supermarket delicatessens.

Giles Reardon-Smith, general manager and partner of zero-rated Brinkley Lion in Newmarket, said the latest result from their July 22 inspection was “unfortunate”.


He said: “We take the cleanliness and hygiene of our restaurant extremely seriously.

“We have a consultant working with us to make sure our processes are better and we have done everything we can to remedy this situation.”


Meanwhile Wei Wang, manager of the zero-scoring Bamboo Garden in Isleham, said: “We are improving on it and the improvements should take six months to be carried out.”

Oz Mutlu, manager of Soham-based Calzone Pizza – which scored zero on July 31 – maintained there was “nothing wrong” with the shop and that they were soon due a new inspection.


The Catherine Fish Bar in Littleport and Raj Curry Hut in Over also received zero ratings but were unavailable for comment.

The figures used the in this article are taken from the Food Standards Agency and are the most recent inspection results available before going to press.

9 sickened with E. coli O157 in Oct. 2013 linked to imported cucumbers served at Jimmy John’s in Denver

9th of December 2014

I’m sure university departmental meetings across the U.S. continue to chomp down on catered Jimmy John’s sandwiches, even though they have a terrible food safety record:

282 sick from Norovirus in Garden City, Kansas, in 2014;

29 sick from E. coli O26 on clover sprouts in early 2012; and,

140 sick from Salmonella on alfalfa sprouts in 2011.

Now, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment reports that in Oct. 2013, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 sickened nine people, including 1 probable case and 8 laboratory-confirmed cases with matching pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multiple-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) patterns from E. coli O157:H7 isolated from stool.

All 9 cases reported eating sandwiches at Denver-area Jimmy John’s locations in early October 2013. The outbreak investigation consisted of case finding and interviews, 2 separate case-control studies, environmental investigations, produce traceback, and laboratory testing.

The results of this investigation indicate that consumption of Jimmy John’s sandwiches containing cucumbers imported from Mexico was the likely cause of the outbreak. To our knowledge, this is the first E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with cucumbers reported in the United States. Public health and food safety officials should be aware that cucumbers may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, which could cause sporadic E. coli O157:H7 infections as well as outbreaks. As of the date of this report, no other cases of E. coli O157:H7 with the PFGE pattern combination seen in this outbreak were reported in Colorado. 



15 sick from Salmonella in UK outbreak

9th of December 2014

Fifteen people are believed to have suffered from Salmonella after eating in a Cumbrian town, officials have said.

Ten cases of the bug have been confirmed by laboratory tests and there are five probable cases awaiting confirmation.

Officials say all those taken ill had visited Penrith over the weekend of 15-16 November.

However, they are unable so far to pinpoint the source of the illness, said a statement.

Specialists from the Cumbria and Lancashire Public Health England Centre and environmental health officers from Eden District Council are investigating.



New food allergen rules for consumers

12th of December 2014
The 2 million people in the UK who live with food allergies will be able to buy food and eat out with more confidence because of new EU rules coming into effect tomorrow, Saturday 13 December 2014.

FSA research carried out in partnership with national charity Allergy UK, found 70% of people with allergies avoid buying takeaways due to concern about allergens and a lack of trust in information they are given.

What’s changing...

From tomorrow, restaurants and takeaways will be required by law to tell customers if any of the main 14 food allergen ingredients are in the food they serve. These changes will mean consumers can feel more confident to ask about allergenic ingredients when eating out.

The 14 allergens range from widely known ingredients such as peanuts and milk, to less widely recognised allergens including mustard and lupin seeds, which are often used in flour. Check out our infographic for the full list of 14 allergens.

To reduce allergic reactions and deaths

It’s hoped the new laws will reduce the number of reactions caused by people accidentally eating food they are allergic to. On average, 10 people die and about 5,000 are hospitalised per year due to allergic reactions. The majority of these avoidable deaths and hospitalisations are caused by incorrect information being given about allergenic ingredients in foods when eating out.

This is a growing issue in the UK, with hospital admissions relating to allergies rising by 87% between 2002 and 2014.

How allergen information will be provided

Food businesses such as restaurants and cafes have been given flexibility on how they provide allergen information. This can be communicated through explanations by staff or signposted to where or how more information can be found in writing (for example, on menus or in additional leaflets) or verbally.

The new EU Food Information for Consumers Regulations will also change the way allergy information appears on labelling for pre-packed foods bought in shops and supermarkets.

Chun-Han Chan, food allergies expert at the FSA, said: ‘These new measures will make it simpler for those with allergies to buy and consume food. Allergies can be fatal for some people and this is why it is vital that food businesses give their customers information they can trust.'

Oliver Bolland, 30, from Hertfordshire, has severe allergies to eggs, fish, shellfish, molluscs and soya. He added: 'I’ve had fairly serious allergies since I was born, but they really became a problem when I became an adult. I had six allergic reactions in the course of a month last year and each time it was because I was told it was fine to eat something that it later turned out I couldn’t.'


Steve Naldrett, director of Ardan Training says  "The local authorities have been urged to proceed with a soft touch, but please do not leave yourselves open for prosecution this christmas"

If there are any businesses out there that need assistance with the implementation of this new piece of legislation please do not hesitate to get in touch on 07967104042 or email