Environmental health officers have spoken of the difficulty of accurately tracing the origins of salmonella poisoning outbreaks, after a restaurant was fined nearly £30,000.
Jun Yin Li, running the Water Market Chinese restaurant in Driffield, Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to a series of breaches of the hygiene regulations during a hearing before Beverley magistrates.
He was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £14,000, after 16 customers fell ill from food poisoning.
After the case investigators revealed that Salmonella Enteritidis PT8 had been found in samples of ready-to-eat fresh, sliced cucumber and spring onion, as well as prepared cooked meat.
However, because of the number of contaminated items involved the investigators said they had not been able to conclude which food items had been the source and which were cross-contaminated on the premises.
Mr Buxton said: "I think the penalties imposed by the court reflect the seriousness of the case, but these are probably secondary to the impact on the restaurant's reputation and business costs associated with the outbreak.
"As such I hope this case will be a lesson for operators of other food businesses that wish to protect their own business' reputation, food safety must be paramount."
By Andrew Smith
E-mail your comments to Chris Druce here.