Birmingham caterer closed after 44 police officers get food poisoning

21 July 2009
Birmingham caterer closed after 44 police officers get food poisoning

A Birmingham catering firm has been shut down by environmental health officers after 44 police officers suffered food poisoning.

Meal Machine was closed by Birmingham City Council under Food Hygiene regulations as a result of concerns over cleanliness and cross-contamination of foods.

The officers were in Birmingham City Centre to marshal a demonstration on 4 July when they were struck down with symptoms including severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Several were taken to hospital suffering from dehydration.

A West Midlands police spokesman told the Birmingham Mail that the sickness was suspected of being "food poisoning as a result of packed lunches issued to the officers" and the matter had been referred to environmental health officers.

Several officers ate a chicken and stuffing sandwich as part of the packed lunch supplied by an outside contractor.

A spokesman for the environmental health department at Birmingham City Council said: "Meal Machine, in Mount Street, Nechells, was closed under Food Hygiene in England Regulations 2006.

"It was implicated in the food poisoning incident. A schedule of work has been issued and it will remain shut until that is completed."

The decision followed checks into processes and procedures, including "food handling, cross contamination, temperature control and general cleanliness".

Andy Gilbert, chairman of West Midlands Police Federation said: "The environmental health investigation is still on-going.
"The toxicology results from various hospitals have been sent off. We are now waiting for the outcome of the investigation before we take our next step."

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By Janie Stamford

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