Two years ago, the company was warned in the center of the Listeria-infected sandwich scandal for violating the rules on product temperature
- It was found that the Good Food Chain 2017 did not fill out forms correctly
- The temperatures of some deliveries were filled out prior to shipping the orders
- The premises had not been inspected for eleven months when Listeria broke out
The sandwich supplier at the center of the Listeria outbreak has been warned of violations of the rules governing product temperature – a key measure to prevent the spread of bacteria.
An inspection of The Good Food Chain in 2017 found that temperatures in some delivery records were pre-filled rather than released after the orders were shipped to staff.
The Good Food Chain said the problem was rectified immediately.
Deadly toll: a sandwich produced by the company in the center of the Listeria outbreak
The premises had not been inspected for eleven months when the sandwiches were identified as the source of a fatal outbreak that killed five hospital patients.
The company said yesterday evening that the infringement included pre-printed temperatures on labels for goods that were kept at ambient temperature, such as canned or dried foods, and did not contain any ingredients that needed refrigeration.
However, a leading food expert said this undermines measures to prevent the spread of infections.
Professor Tim Lang of the City of London Center for Food Policy said, "If temperatures were already preprinted into forms, this would completely destroy the overall purpose of such forms, which record and identify truth.
"Good risk management is mocked. If allowed to fill out forms, this may also indicate that more serious errors exist elsewhere. "
Following the inspection by the Stafford Borough Council in June 2017, pre-filled forms should be withdrawn immediately. At The Good Food Chain in Stone, Staffordshire, another breach was discovered that needed immediate attention.
The Good Food Chain that supplied the sandwiches is based in Stone, Staffordshire
His report says, "The blade of a high-capacity can opener was soiled, which would lead to contamination … in the next can opened."
In addition, it criticized the "dirty" state of the staff microwave, a potential source of infection.
Despite these concerns, the company founded by classic car enthusiast Martyn Corfield  received the maximum overall rating of five out of five points.
Stafford Borough Council announced that it was reviewed in June last year, when the issues were resolved.
It was not re-inspected until May 22, after the Listeria outbreak investigation began. She then voluntarily discontinued production.
A spokesman for the council said, "As long as the company can not convince us and the Food Standards Agency that there is no risk to public health, production will not resume in the company."
The Good Food Chain said, "Basic information was included in the delivery forms in advance by an employee who removed them from the order.
"If a temperature field had been ticked in advance, it should have meant that the delivery was for ambient goods. This is supported by the fact that there are clearly no safety concerns as the inspectors awarded a five-star rating after this inspection. "
The meat was made by North Country Cooked Meats based in Salford, Greater Manchester
The company spokesman said the practice was "never at any time" for chilled goods. The meat used in the contaminated sandwiches was supplied by North Country Cooked Meats to The Good Food Chain, which also voluntarily closed down while investigations continued.
It was last inspected by the Salford Council in February and passed all hygiene and safety tests.
Yesterday, The Sunday Mirror reported how North Country Cooked Meats was studied for Listeria in 2009 and 2010.
Salford Council spokesman said, "We discovered Listeria in 2009 and 2010 and the company acted immediately to counteract it."
North Country Cooked Meats declined to comment last night.
Everyone who died in the recent Listeria outbreak was eating the pre-packed Good Food Chain chicken salad sandwiches. It supplied 43 NHS trusts whose products have since been withdrawn.
Two of the deceased were in the Manchester Royal Infirmary and one in the Aintree Hospital in Liverpool.
Public Health England announced two more deaths on Friday. Health Minister Matt Hancock has ordered a thorough review of the hospital's nutrition.