Leamington fish and chip shop owner fined after breach of health and safety which harmed customer

Warwick District Council
Warwick District Council

A Leamington Fish and Chip Shop Owner has been fined for a serious breach to public health and safety after a customer suffered internal burns from a condiment given to her.

At Leamington Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, Ali Varvil, the sole Director of Spa Catering Ltd - trading as Leamington Fish Bar in Tavistock Street - pleaded guilty to one offence of failing to protect a member of the public from being exposed to risks to their health or safety.

Mr Varvil was fined £510 and was ordered to make £ 3,440 contribution towards the Council’s costs.

The Court heard that in the early hours of the morning, on Saturday 19 July 2014, an employee of Spa Catering Ltd. gave a customer “Malteen Condiment Essence” to drink advising her that it was “strong” vinegar. Malteen Condiment Essence is labelled as “pure acetic acid” and is corrosive until diluted.

Shortly after consuming the Condiment Essence, the customer became unwell and began to vomit. An ambulance was called and the customer was admitted to hospital. She remained in hospital for 3 days, receiving treatment for corrosive chemical burns to her mouth and oesophagus.

An investigation by Warwick District Council Officers revealed that that none of the shop staff had been appropriately trained in the dilution procedure for the Condiment Essence. This lack of training resulted in the staff member who gave the customer undiluted Condiment Essence not recognising that it was a hazardous and corrosive chemical which would cause serious injury if ingested.

Councillor Moira-Ann Grainger, who is the portfolio holder for Health and Community Protection, said:

“Warwick District Council works with businesses to allow them to effectively protect their staff and members of the public from risks to their health and safety. Where there is evidence that a business has failed to meet acceptable standards and placed persons at risk we will take enforcement action.”