The Macdonald Frimley Hall hotel in Camberley, Surrey, has been ordered to pay £72,000 in fines and costs after serving a chicken liver parfait which led to 46 members of a wedding party falling ill with food poisoning.
Macdonald Frimley Hall Ltd - operated by Macdonald Hotels & Resorts
The four-star, 98-bedroom hotel was fined £15,000 for the first charge and £2,000 for the second. The company also agreed to pay Surrey Heath Borough Council £55,000 prosecution costs.
The court heard that the council's environmental health team carried out an investigation into reports that 46 of 89 guests at a wedding party for Mr and Mrs Dunsford held at the hotel on 28 May 2011 suffered food poisoning after consuming the chicken liver parfait.
Tim Pashen, the council's executive head of community, said: "Chicken liver is a well-publicised potential source of campylobacter food poisoning and it is essential that such high risk products are cooked to a sufficient temperature and held at that temperature long enough to reasonably eliminate safety risks.
"In this case, the parfait had been cooked at too low a heat and there was no recording system in place to check how long it had been held at the necessary temperature. The recipe was new to the hotel and no regard had been given to clear and publicised warnings from the Food Standards Agency concerning the need to undertake rigorous checks."
The judge commented that the failures had resulted in an "entirely foreseeable outcome".
A spokesman for Macdonald Hotels & Resorts apologised for the distress to guests caused during the wedding party. He said that the company decided to accept the charges partly due to their historic nature and for commercial reasons as nearly two years have lapsed since the event.
"The group's chief executive contacted Mrs Dunsford immediately the case was settled to offer an unreserved apology on behalf of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts. Mr & Mrs Dunsford were also offered a complimentary honeymoon to one of the overseas Macdonald resorts as a further goodwill gesture.
"The management of the hotel have taken this unfortunate incident extremely seriously and it is pleased to confirm the hotel maintains its five star rating from Surrey Health Borough Council."