Pub slapped with £1.6k bill for serving ‘unsafe food’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Ordered to pay: the West Sussex pub has to pay hundreds of pounds for serving potentially dangerous food
Ordered to pay: the West Sussex pub has to pay hundreds of pounds for serving potentially dangerous food

Related tags: Pub food, Hygiene

A licensee has been ordered to pay more than £1,600 in fines and costs after serving food containing egg to a customer who ordered an egg-free meal.

Tim Earley from the Fox Eating & Drinking House, West Hoathly, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to food safety charges at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on 11 October. He was fined £307 and made to pay costs of £1,360 alongside a victim surcharge of £30.

This followed a complaint to West Sussex Trading Standards in 2018 from a customer who found a bone in a vegetarian meal.

Trading Standards officers then visited the pub and found there was insufficient information about the allergens meals contained.

Legal responsibilities

The council also said the Fox was displaying a five-star hygiene rating when it only had two stars at the time. Currently, the Food Standards Agency website shows the pub has a four-star food hygiene rating.

After the visit in 2018, Trading Standards sent a warning letter to Earley, highlighting his legal responsibilities as a food business operator.

In January 2019, officers conducted a follow-up visit where one posed as a customer and ordered an egg-free burger meal, which, when sent for analysis, was found to contain egg.

As a result of this incident, Trading Standards brought charges against Earley for selling “unsafe food”.

Allergen control

Trading Standards team manager Peter Aston said: “The consequences of poor allergen control can be incredibly serious.

“Even though no members of the public were harmed by eating at the Fox Eating & Drinking House, someone with a severe food allergy could potentially have died.”

West Sussex County Council cabinet member for environment Deborah Urquhart hoped this case would act as a deterrent to other food businesses.

She said: “In the course of the original complaint and two subsequent inspections, Earley committed a number of offences, including displaying an incorrect food hygiene rating, inaccurate information on the menu and serving unsafe food. Despite being given a chance to put matters right at an early stage, he did not do so.”

The Morning Advertiser ​attempted to contact the pub but had received no response at time of publication.

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