Aren't catering companies responponsible for food safety?
The short answer is Yes but....
Successful food safety is dependent on having the right company working in a properly designed, equipped and maintained kitchen which is operated by suitably trained management and food handlers working to appropriate food safety systems.
A simple analogy is transportation where vehicles have to be suitable for their intended purpose, regularly maintained to ensure vehicle safety, and only operated by suitably trained drivers who adhere to the correct driving standards.
In much the same way as a trained driver cannot make an unsafe vehicle safe, a good caterer cannot make a badly designed or poorly maintained unsafe kitchen into a safe kitchen. Sometimes the deficiencies can be compensated for a limited time but will soon become apparent.
Often it is a change in circumstances which is the trigger, such as a rapid change in the number of meals served in much the same way as vehicle problems may only manifest themselves when driving at a higher speed. So food safety is much the same as transportation safety in that it is more logical to concentrate on prevention rather than waiting for an accident and then putting resources in to clear up the incident.
The caterer may have no control over the kitchen because this is owned by the operator / contractor and the caterer may fail to report problems for a variety of reasons. Conversely, the contractor / operator might supply a kitchen and equipment which has properly maintained equipment but the caterer fails to implement appropriate food safety procedures.
Food safety isn't just about the caterer taking a few temperatures - it involves a number of factors, all of which need to be taken into consideration when evaluating food safety.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the caterer to provide safe food but the company who awards the catering contract also has a responsibility to consider food safety when selecting a suitable catering company (and where appropriate, designing & maintaining suitable catering facilities in which the caterer is expected to work)