Home Office entrepreneur gives children hotel food containing worms | Immigration and asylum

Children at a Home Office hotel unwittingly ate worms that were in food supplied to them by government contractors, the Guardian has learned.

A four-year-old boy, not realizing his meal of fish and chips contained worms, started vomiting shortly after he started eating it. Paramedics were called and the boy was taken to hospital.

His father said he suffered from the disease with a fever for three days and other family members who ate the same meal experienced similar symptoms. The family asked not to be identified.

They were staying at a hotel in the Midlands when the incident happened last month and were later relocated by the Home Office.

Environmental health officers determined that the food contained parasitic roundworms. A council environmental health officer who was alerted to the problem said cooking usually kills these worms. “However, I appreciate it being an unpleasant experience to encounter one in your meal,” he added.

He said he would come to the hotel to do spot checks.

The family have made a formal complaint to Home Office contractor Serco. In response, a Serco official wrote: ‘I can confirm there was some bug in the food and the hotel was notified at the time. An apology was made at the time and housing officers will check food quality before service.

The father of the family said the incident was very distressing. “The food at the hotel was very bad and we had to call the paramedics after my four-year-old son ate the meal and started vomiting,” he said.

This is one of the many problems identified in the accommodation of asylum seekers in the hotels of the Ministry of the Interior. A recent report by the Refugee Council found that the Home Office’s use of hotels for asylum seekers tripled in the past year and many occupants have expressed concerns about poor conditions.

The asylum seekers have raised concerns with the Guardian about their family members being housed separately in different hotels. In one case, an asylum seeker was separated from her husband and two children aged 5 and 12.

The father of this family told the Guardian: “Our children really need their mother. We applied to Migrant Help [a Home Office helpline for asylum seekers] for our family to be housed together in the same hotel but there was no response.

Home Office sources said: ‘Now that this matter has come to our attention, we will work to house them together.’

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A third family of asylum seekers, who are being housed in a hotel on the south coast of England by Home Office contractors Clearsprings, have complained that hotel staff entered their rooms and filmed some of their belongings without their permission.

“They are abusing our rights,” the father said. Home Office sources disputed that they entered the family’s bedroom without permission and said the visit was part of ‘standard welfare checks’.

Regarding the worm incident, Jenni Halliday, Serco’s Contract Manager for Asylum Seeker Accommodation, said: “It is clear that this food is unacceptable and should never have been served to claimants. asylum at the hotel. We have apologized to the family concerned and are working with hotel management to ensure that all food meets the required standard.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Asylum seekers are provided with safe and secure accommodation funded by the UK taxpayer. We expect high standards from all of our suppliers and will review this specific case. »

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