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Belfast E.coli Outbreak Restaurant Fined £110,000

May 1, 2015

The restaurant at the centre of Northern Ireland’s worst ever E.coli outbreak, which resulted in 141 cases and a further 159 people reporting symptoms, has been fined £110,000 by Belfast Crown Court.

Two customers were taken seriously ill and 16 admitted to hospital, following two outbreaks at Flicks restaurant in North Belfast during August and October 2012. Judge Gordon Kerr QC, said the restaurant had “showed a blatant disregard for the food safety standards and therefore for the safety of its customers.”

Flicks agreed to voluntary closure following advice from Environmental Health Officers at Belfast City Council in October 2012. Contaminated chopped parsley used to garnish dishes is thought to be the cause of the infection.

A Public Health Agency report which was released after the hearing said; “Staff assumed the parsley, which originated in the eastern and western Mediterranean, was supplied to the restaurant as a ready-to-eat product but this was not the case. Washing of the parsley to remove contamination was therefore not identified as a critical control point. There was evidence of failure to comply with the legal requirement to keep the prepared parsley refrigerated and this could have facilitated the growth of micro-organisms.”

Business owner, Michael McAdam pleaded guilty to 11 food hygiene offences, including failing to ensure food handlers were adequately supervised, trained and instructed. Victims of the outbreak have already received over £300,000 in compensation.

You can download the full PHA Report HERE