A fast food restaurant in Northwich has been prosecuted for selling undercooked food which was eaten by a three-year-old child.

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  • Council: Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Fine: £500
  • Costs: £2,500
  • Total: £3,000

Queensway Hospitality Limited, which operates the KFC premises at Chesterway under franchise, admitted placing an unsafe mini chicken fillet burger on the market.

Cheshire West and Chester Council prosecuted the company following a complaint to food safety officers concerning an incident on February 2, 2013.

Last Thursday (May 1), Chester Magistrates Court heard that a customer bought a mini chicken fillet burger meal from the restaurant’s drive-thru as a treat for his three-year-old son to eat at home a short distance away.

After starting to eat the mini chicken fillet burger the child spat the food out, commenting that “it tasted funny”.

The child’s parents reported the matter to Cheshire West and Chester Council Food Safety, who sent the item for analysis by the Public Analyst who found conclusively that part of the burger had not been adequately cooked.

Food Safety Inspectors subsequently conducted an inspection of the KFC premises and gathered items of food safety documentation such as temperature and defrost control records.

They found evidence to suggest that in some instances chicken was being under-defrosted and that additional items were added to the defrosting cabinet during a defrosting cycle.
The company accepted that this was a serious incident, to which they reacted promptly, conducting their own internal investigation and undertaking a thorough review of procedures, recognising that fortunately on this occasion there was no harm caused as the child who ate the chicken spat it out.

The company further admitted that their investigation revealed evidence of falsification of records by staff. However, the cause of the incident in February 2013 could not be established.

The court heard that following the incident the company has put in place stringent measures to avoid any possibility of reoccurrence.

The company was fined £500 and ordered to pay £2500 towards the Council’s costs and a victim surcharge of £50.

Vanessa Griffiths, Head of Regulatory Services, said: “Despite the food safety management systems in place at KFC in Chesterway, Northwich, there was evidence to suggest that at the time of this incident procedures were not followed, and consequently food safety and public health were compromised.

“At sites such as this, where high volumes of high-risk foods are being served, it is critical that staff are well trained, understand the value of food safety procedures and have the right equipment and time to ensure that our public can eat high quality, safe food with confidence.”