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.
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”.
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.