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Advocates’ lounge closed in London following contamination fears

Posted: January 31st, 2012 by Eloise comment-icon 1

The Advocates’ lounge at Snaresbrook Crown Court in London has been closed following reports that food being served there ‘smelled a bit off’.

An investigation has now been launched into a suspected case of food contamination, and all members of staff have been suspended. There have been unconfirmed reports that the food was in fact contaminated with urine, and that traces have been detected in salads, sandwiches and soups.

The investigation is being run jointly by the Council and the Police, and although no arrests have yet been made, they are said to be taking the situation very seriously, as is the company that provides the catering.

Deliberate contamination of food goes far beyond breaches of food safety regulations, and you don’t need food safety training to know that it is not acceptable to contaminate food for human consumption with urine.

Food safety standards set out very clear guidelines regarding food safety standards as well as food safety management procedures which should be complied with at all times. For the moment, it is unclear whether deliberate contamination has taken place, or how that contamination could have happened.

One Comment on “Advocates’ lounge closed in London following contamination fears”

  • Jeremy Lynn February 8th, 2012 10:47 am

    Over the years I’ve often eaten (suffered) in the awful canteen at Snaresbrook Crown Court. In recent years I’ve taken to going out to eat as the “Bar Mess” is so bad. I’m pretty certain that this is not the first time that this canteen has been closed – I recall a mouse infestation a few years ago.
    When I first started as a barrister in 1983 the Court canteens were almost always run by internal staff or local companies. Some were really excellent – so much so that it was a pleasure to eat there. They were always good value too. Over the years the running of these restaurants has been handed over to just two or three companies. They provide a restricted range of food (generally overpriced) much of it completely unsuited to the needs of barristers who are trying to keep awake in the afternoon. Often the staff in Court canteens had been there for years, were very much liked, were attentive to the needs of their customers and provided an excellent service. The current providers employ staff, no doubt at a pitifully low wage, who seem to have no interest in what they do. There is often a real language problem too. To read that there are fears that food has been contaminated with urine comes as no surprise. It’s probably from mice, but if it turned out to be malicious in origin, that would not surprise at all.
    The problem lies with the companies that hold the franchises to operate these canteens. Get rid of them, and allow individuals to run them. A good example of an exception to the rule of awful court canteens is Southend. There the canteen is in private hands and the food and the service is really excellent.

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