Lichfield Man Reveals Hope Lessons Will Be Learned From ‘Heartbreaking’ Incident
A groom left ‘devastated’ when he and more than 50 of his guests developed food poisoning following his wedding has called for lessons to be learned after a catering company today pleaded guilty to hygiene offences.
Phil Kemp was forced to cancel his honeymoon to the Dominican Republic with new wife Vikki after he developed serious gastric illness symptoms including nausea, diarrhoea and abdominal pains just a day after their wedding reception.
Phil, 37, instructed specialist Public Health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he fell ill.
Following tests it was confirmed that he had salmonella, a serious bacterial infection. Phil, of Burntwood, Lichfield, was then stunned to learn that many of his guests who attended the wedding had also fallen ill with similar symptoms and many of them with confirmed diagnosis for salmonella.
Irwin Mitchell’s Public Health Team, which represents 25 people who fell ill, secured an admission of civil liability from Galloping Gourmet (Coulsden) Ltd, the company which provided the catering at the wedding in October 2017. Lichfield District Council also launched a criminal prosecution against the caterer.
The firm pleaded guilty to two health and hygiene offences at Cannock Magistrates’ Court after providing a hog roast which was contaminated with salmonella. A total of 58 people fell in.
The Galloping Gourmet was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 costs.
The Public Health Team at national firm Irwin Mitchell has vast experience of handling illness outbreak cases arising from incidents in the UK including holiday resorts, restaurants and public establishments in the UK. These include successfully representing almost 30 people who contracted salmonella from contaminated food from the Real China restaurant in Southampton, and successfully representing almost 300 diners who fell ill after visiting the Toby Carvery Exeter Arms in Exeter in 2015.
Expert Opinion“This is yet another terrible case which puts a spotlight on the huge impact that health and hygiene failings can have on those affected.
“Phil and many of our other clients are continuing to suffer with health issues as a result of what happened two years ago. It is particularly devastating for those involved that the problems emerged on what was meant to be a memorable and very special day.
“The effect of what happened to Phil ensured that his and Vikki’s first few days of newlyweds, when they should have been enjoying their honeymoon, were ruined.
“While we have been able to secure an admission from the caterer involved, we have been waiting on the outcome of this prosecution. We will now be working with the caterers to promptly resolve these civil cases on behalf of our clients.
“It is also vital that this case acts as a warning of the dangers of catering companies selling food unfit for consumption and reinforces the need for firms to uphold the highest hygiene standards at all times.” Jatinder Paul - Senior Associate Solicitor
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling public health cases
Phil and Vikki, 35, married on 20 October, 2017. Phil, an IT operations technician, started to feel unwell the following day. His symptoms then worsened significantly the day after, 22 October.
He recalled: “The wedding had been a really fantastic day and everyone had enjoyed it so much, but I couldn’t believe it when I started to feel unwell. It got to the point where I had to go to a local walk-in centre and after tests I was told I had salmonella – I just couldn’t believe it.
“My illness lasted around 10 days all in all, but the symptoms were so bad that we had no option but to cancel our honeymoon to the Dominican Republic. I was totally devastated and we never got any money back from the tour operator or insurer in relation to it.
“We did go away eventually, but this was obviously an extra cost on top of everything we had already paid. It was heartbreaking.”
Other guests affected by the illness problems have gone on to suffer issues including irritable bowel syndrome and psychological conditions as a result of what they have been through.
Phil added: “News of today’s prosecution is very welcome and I hope that it is an outcome that caterers across the country pay attention to and learn from. No one should have to go through what we have, especially in relation to their wedding day – it is just not acceptable.
“Sadly a lot of the memories about what should have been the happiest day of mine and Vikki’s lives are spoilt by what happened.
“Nothing will change what has happened, but we now just hope these issues will never happen again.”
Those who fell ill included Phil, 52 wedding guests and members of staff.