Sussex pub landlord fined for serving ‘unsafe’ food

A Sussex pub landlord has been fined for serving ‘unsafe’ food to a customer.

Timothy Earley, who runs The Fox Eating and Drinking House in West Hoathly, served food containing egg to a customer ordering an egg-free meal.

The Fox Eating and Drinking House in West Hoathly SUS-191022-113132001

The Fox Eating and Drinking House in West Hoathly SUS-191022-113132001

He pleaded guilty to food safety charges at Worthing Magistrates Court and was fined £307 and made to pay costs of £1,360.76 as well as a victim surcharge of £30.

West Sussex County Council said that trading standard officers visited the pub following a complaint from a customer who found a bone in a vegetarian meal.

Officers found there was insufficient information about what allergens meals contained.

The pub, said the council, was also displaying a five star hygiene rating when it only had two stars at the time.

Trading Standards sent a warning letter to Mr Earley highlighting his legal responsibilities as a food business operator.

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

A council spokesman said: “This could have caused a severe reaction to an egg allergy sufferer.

“As a result of this incident, Trading Standards brought charges against Mr 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 and Drinking House, someone with a severe food allergy could potentially have died.”

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for environment, said: “In the course of the original complaint and two subsequent inspections Mr 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. I hope this outcome will act as a deterrent to other West Sussex food businesses.”