CHICKEN restaurants chain KFC was fined £5,000 on Tuesday (6 March) after a 10-year-old girl found a metal screw in her mouth while eating at one of its Peterborough premises.
The fast food outlet pleaded guilty to one charge of selling unsafe food and one charge of failing to maintain its equipment, at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court.
It was fined £2,500 for each charge and was also ordered to pay full costs, totalling £4,800, to Peterborough City Council, which brought the prosecution.
The council’s environmental health team received a complaint about the KFC restaurant, in London Road, from a concerned mother after her 10-year-old daughter discovered a stray screw in her mouth while eating barbecue baked beans at the restaurant on April 16.
Following the complaint, officers visited the restaurant to inspect the kitchen, where it is believed the screw made its way from a tin opener into the barbecue baked beans.
The screw had been missing from the tin opener that morning but a council spokesman said that inadequate action had been taken to prevent potentially contaminated beans being bought.
He added that the company had failed to take all reasonable precautions to prevent loose or missing screws getting into food and to provide a procedure to follow if such an incident occured.
Cllr Peter Hiller, the council’s cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and planning, said: “Our residents have a right to be confident that the food they buy from city restaurants and take-aways is safe to eat, and we take complaints about unsafe food very seriously.
“Thankfully, on this occasion the child did not choke but this incident could have been far worse and action had to be taken to prevent it happening again.
“The child and her mother were clearly distressed by this incident and I am pleased with the outcome, which serves as a warning that we will not tolerate such food health and safety negligence.”
Environmental health officers are working with KFC to prevent a repeat incident occurring in the future.
A KFC spokeswoman said: “At KFC our food safety standards are of the utmost importance to us and we acknowledge that on this very rare occasion we failed to live up to those standards.
“We immediately apologised to the customer, we have checked all equipment to ensure it is up to standard and stressed to our staff the importance of being extra vigilant in future.”