Booths fined after PNE chair ate poisoned tongue

Maurice Lindsay
Maurice Lindsay

Booths has been fined £27,500 for selling a ox tongue infected with listeria which left the former chairman of Preston North End ill in hospital.

Maurice Lindsay’s housekeeper bought the tongue from Booths in Lytham, but the food was found to contain the potentially deadly bacteria.

Booths admitted 10 hygiene, labelling and sell-by date offences at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The court heard the Lytham store was investigated by Fylde Council after Mr Lindsay, 70, who lives in the town, became ill in 2011. It found discrepancies in the sell by dates and labelling on other Polish and Italian meats as well as seafood.

The tongue was found to have been purchased from the store’s deli counter and supplied to Booths by Wirrall Foods, based in East Lancashire.

Michael Lavery, prosecuting, said: “The firm said the normal policy was to keep wet fish and shell fish for three days, but if it looked alright give it another day.

“There is a failure to supervise systems and procedures and a failure to heed previous warnings.”

Mark Balysz, defending, said: “Booths sincerely regrets the illness caused to this gentleman.

“It’s relationship with the manufacturers of the ox tongue has now been ended. Booths now realise that Wirrall Foods did not observe the required testing regime. It was that firm which broke the regulations and Booths feel badly let down.”

District Judge Jeff Brailsford said: “Anyone retailing food to the public has a duty to make sure it is safe. The company accepts the systems it operated had been overtaken by changes in the market. It failed to move with the times. As a result this man suffered a significant illness.”

The supermarket was ordered to pay the council’s costs of £46,755 and a £15 victim surcharge.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Gazette