Hygiene cases can be costly

13 April 2006
Hygiene cases can be costly

I write in response to recent reports that London restaurant Simpson's-in-the-Strand has been ordered to pay £10,352 in costs after losing a case against a hygiene improvement notice, based on allegations that the restaurant gave 31 customers salmonella.

A clean environment should exist in every food-serving chain, from the humble kebab van to the luxury restaurant.

The introduction of HACCP legislation in January means restaurants and hotels are now under more pressure than ever to have a comprehensive record to prove they're meeting hygiene requirements. Food poisoning can seriously affect a customer's health and bad publicity can wreck a restaurant's reputation. But the implications of poor hygiene run much deeper.

The Simpson's-in-the-Strand case demonstrates that compensation claims can be extremely costly. Even restaurants with the highest hygiene levels can be liable if their systems are not consistently enforced.

Managers must be able to prove hygiene practices are in order so they can counter claims. Restaurants and hotels will clearly benefit from introducing more robust management systems, which will help them to control the risk more effectively. Failure to do so could leave them exposed to larger and more frequent payouts.

Mark Harrington
Chief executive officer, Check Safety First

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