Killer dish: Chef jailed for serving deadly shepherd's pie

WION Web Team
California, United States Published: Dec 04, 2021, 03:44 PM(IST)

Chefs in a kitchen (file photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The shepherd’s pie, which was filled with mince and been prepared in an incorrect manner, caused serious food poisoning to 32 people. Out of these 32 people, a 92-year-old healthy Elizabeth Neuman, reportedly died after eating the pie

One wrong ingredient can ruin a dish, but this time it has landed an experienced chef behind bars. A toxic shepherd’s pie sent the chef to jail after one person died and more than 30 people suffered serious food poisoning.

John Croucher, the head chef at the Crewe Arms in the Northamptonshire village of Hinton-in-the-Hedges. He served a shepherd’s pie at a church harvest supper at a village pub. However, that meal ended with a tragedy.

The shepherd’s pie, which was filled with mince and been prepared in an incorrect manner, caused serious food poisoning to 32 people. Out of these 32 people, a 92-year-old healthy Elizabeth Neuman, reportedly died after eating the pie.

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Thirty one other people became unpleasantly ill and kept vomiting. Three people from the congregation escaped this tragedy as they were vegetarians and had, thus, not consumed the pie.

"On 8 October 2018, 35 villagers went to the Crewe Arms for a harvest meal. Thirty-two people ate the shepherd’s pie. A healthy and well person died of a gastrointestinal haemorrhage induced from vomiting. No sentence I pass can reflect the loss caused to the family," said the judge, Sarah Campbell.

"Croucher was the chef that night. The mince was not cooked properly and was placed into a pan with iced water. Croucher needed to leave, so put the mince in cling film and put it in the fridge overnight. Having left it, he cooked it again and added warm mashed potato. He did not take the temperature when it was served," she added.

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The chef has been charged with a four month jail sentence and has been suspended for a year on the charges of serious food regulations.

"I hate to say it, I really hate to say it, but I think I was rushed. I was rushing," Croucher admitted. "Remorse is an understatement. This is something I will never forget. Because of it, I am a better chef and it is just a shame the cost of it had to be what it was."

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