Lincolnshire meals-on-wheels supplier fined over kitchen hygiene

A supplier of meals-on-wheels for the elderly based near Lincoln has been fined nearly £5,000 after a series of kitchen hygiene breaches.

The Lincolnshire Kitchen, run from Nocton Heath by David Mather was prosecuted by North Kesteven District Council after inspectors described the kitchen as “appalling” following an inspection on January 23.

At Lincoln Magistrates Court, Mather pleaded guilty to 11 food safety charges and one charge related to storing dangerous chemicals.

While no-one has become ill from eating the meals from the service, magistrates felt that there was a risk someone could be harmed in future.

They also learned that inspectors had warned Mather about the kitchen conditions since 2008, and when he took over the premises, with every officer witnessing poor conditions.

After a January visit, Lincolnshire Kitchen was given a zero out of five for the FSA Hygiene Standard.

When inspectors North Kesteven District Council’s visited, the officers found the kitchen dirty, with raw and ready-to-eat foods unwrapped on a table. Raw and cooked foods were being handled on the same surfaces, which increases risk of cross contamination.

There was a number of poorly stored food that was either out of date or without an expiry date.

Additionally, corrosive cleaning chemicals were stored above an oven, dirty sanitizer bottles, holes in walls, poor cleaning throughout, and cleaned utensils left on dirty surfaces.

An employee said that there was no documented food safety management procedures in place as he ‘didn’t really keep records’.

According to Mather’s solicitor, he’s since taken all measures to improve the kitchen, and has put the business on the market for sale or rent to “ensure absolutely that the risks of similar issues being repeated are removed”.

Cllr Richard Wright, NKDC Executive Board Member said: “Unfortunately once again we have identified serious failures in hygiene standards and taken action to protect the public.

“Given the appalling conditions identified on this and previous inspections it is a wonder that the elderly customers receiving their meals from these premises had not become ill, but reassuring to hear that Mr Mather has sought to sever his involvement with the business going forward and improve matters.”

David Mather was fined £1,400 with a £30 victim surcharge, plus the same again to the company he is a director of, The School Kitchen Company (Mather stopped supplying school meals two years ago), with a further £2,000 in costs.