Prosecution dropped against butchers investigated over salmonella outbreak in Hartlepool and East Durham

A prosecution against a butcher’s shop linked to an investigation into an outbreak of salmonella has been dropped.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 2:02 pm
Chapman and Sons Butchers in Blackhall closed in March last year.

Bosses of Chapman and Sons butchers in Back Middle Street, Blackhall Colliery, previously appeared before magistrates charged with failing to comply with food safety and hygiene rules.

It followed an investigation carried out by the food hygiene team at Durham County Council after an outbreak of salmonella in East Durham and Hartlepool last year.

But prosecutors did not offer any evidence when the case was heard at Durham Crown Court.

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Bryan Smith, litigation manager for Durham County Council, said: “A decision was taken to discontinue the prosecution of this case as a result of a review of the evidence and the likelihood of securing a conviction.”

A health probe was launched into the cause of the serious outbreak of salmonella in East Durham and Hartlepool in February last year which left two people in hospital and was linked to the death of 66-year-old Stewart Graham, of Shotton Colliery.

A post mortem examination, carried out by Home Office pathologist Dr Lakshmi Nair, found the cause of death to be sepsis, bacterial gastroenteritis from salmonella infection and ischemic heart disease.

People were advised not to eat any cold pre-cooked meats and savouries bought on or before February 19 from Chapman and Sons butchers in Blackhall Colliery.

Public Health England said the source of the outbreak was not known but issued the advice as a precaution.

The owners and staff of Chapman and Sons co-operated fully with the investigation and agreed to discard ready to eat foods from their premises while the investigation continued.

Chapman and Sons was later charged with contravene/fail to comply with EU provision concerning food safety and hygiene.

The charge read: "In February 15, last year, the company contravened or failed to comply with a provision of Regulation 178/2002 that was specified in column 1 of Schedule 2 to the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and whose subject matter was described in column 2 of that Schedule, namely Article 14(1) in that unsafe food, namely cooked pork contaminated with Salmonella."

In March last year, Chapman and Sons took the decision to close.