Forty-nine wedding guests laid low and newlyweds forced to spend their Vegas honeymoon sick in bed after getting food poisoning from undercooked pate
Nicola Hamill, 29, and husband Alex, 32, fell ill while on
their honeymoon in Las Vegas following the wedding at Letchworth Hall Hotel,
When they returned, they heard that 49 of their guests had
suffered from the same problems after eating the chicken liver pate which had
not been cooked to the right temperature.
Newlyweds Alex and Nicola Hamill were confined to their
honeymoon bedroom after they both fell sick with food poisoning along with 49
of their guests
Nicola said she was suspicious about the pate when it was
first served and asked twice if it was safe to consume, and was assured it was
She said: 'We feel it spoilt the memory of the day. We had
saved for years for our special day. It was ruined. What is worse is that I
knew something was wrong with the pate - it looked completely different from
our tasting session.
'We asked the staff twice to check it was fit for
consumption and they assured us it was. I would not wish it on my worst enemy.
She said they fell in love with the hotel the first time
they saw it. 'When we walked in the hotel, we knew it was the one,' she said.
'They really bigged up the kitchen and food.'
They paid £5,550 on a wedding breakfast for 118 guests,
welcome drinks, meal drinks and a toast drink but got the venue for free as
part of a special offer.
Because they were unhappy about the pate they complained
the next day and the hotel gave them £400 towards their bar tab.
They then left for their £2,200 honeymoon in Las Vegas on
September 5, but only managed one romantic meal before they both fell ill with
stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
Mrs Hamill said: 'People ask us what we did in Las Vegas
and we have to say nothing. We were left just looking out of the window
thinking we wish we were sat by the pool.
'It is not how you expect to spend your first week as
husband and wife. I felt so ill. We didn't understand what was wrong with us,
at one point I thought I was going to die.
'I thought Alex just had a headache. But taking him on the
helicopter trip was the worst thing for him - I thought he was going to keel
over on me.
'All we could eat was dry toast and spent 150 dollars on
the mini bar just on water and vitamin drinks. We should have been splashing
out on champagne. We only went out for one meal.'
When they returned from their honeymoon, the couple were
devastated to hear that nearly half of their wedding guests had suffered from
the same food poisoning
After returning home the couple were still weak and unwell
but had to struggle at work because Nicola was still in her probation period
and Alex is self-employed.
The case was prosecuted by North Hertfordshire District
Council and the hotel pleaded guilty to two charges of poor food hygiene
practice at Hertford Magistrates' Court on May 18.
Magistrates heard that 49 of the 118 guests at the hotel
had eaten the chicken liver pate starter and reported illness after the meal,
with doctors confirming 22 cases of an infection called Campylobacter -
including the bride and groom.
The hotel was forced to pay £6,300 for the first offence
and £2,000 for the second and made to pay the full court costs of £3,870 to
NHDC, which received the initial complaint five days after the wedding on
Environmental health officers established that the chef
had cooked the chicken livers to 60°C,
in breach of hotel policy and Food Standards Agency guidance which recommends a
temperature of 75°C
to prevent food poisoning.
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