BAD BATCH: Baker fined $15k after pies make people ill
A LOCAL baker has been fined $15,000 after three people became ill from eating pies purchased at his bakery.
Malcolm James Nisbet, 60, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court to one count of selling unsafe food.
The court heard two customers had purchased some pies from Nisbet's business Bro's Bakery in June last year.
The pies were both kept in a pie warmer and were sold as being ready to eat.
They were consumed about 20 minutes later when the customers had returned home.
The court heard two customers and one other person ate most of the two pies which were the subject of the charge, with part of it being frozen for later consumption.
Those three people then became ill later that night or early the following morning.
They all suffered diarrhoea, with two of them experiencing various other symptoms including stomach cramps, nausea, abdominal pain and joint and muscle pain.
Microbiological testing from stool samples of the customers who fell ill, the left over pie and swabs from the bakery detected a pathogen.
The samples showed the disease strain were part of the same cluster and were genetically related.
The prosecutor said Nisbet accepted his cooking methods were possibly outdated.
The court also heard Nisbet had inadequate temperature control when cooling products.
The offence was the first time Nisbet had been before the court but he had a history of noncompliance with the food act.
The prosecutor said Nisbet had received improvement notices and an infringement notice in the past.
Nisbet's lawyer Zack McKay told the court his client accepted responsibility for what happened.
The court heard Nisbet planned to retire in two years and the business was his sole source of income.
Mr McKay submitted that having a conviction recorded may impact Nisbet's ability to undertake volunteer work involving food in the future.
The court heard Nisbet's business had also been impacted during the covid pandemic.
Acting Magistrate Kay Philipson took into account Nisbet's plea of guilty and accepted it came at an early opportunity.
She also took into account it was the first time Nisbet had been before the court but also that he had a received a number of improvement notices in the past.
Ms Philipson said she found it concerning that Nisbet described one of his employees as "not having as good standards as yourself and that he was not very hygienic".
"When one's selling food to the general public or providing food to anyone, one needs to ensure that food provided is safe for consumption," she said.
"People have a right to expect they can purchase food without getting sick from that."
Ms Philipson also took into account Nisbet had fully co-operated with the authorities.
Nisbet was fined $15,000 and was ordered to pay a total of $1597.95 in legal and court costs.
A conviction was not recorded.