AN ice cream parlour has been landed with a £12,000 fine after a boy sliced his tongue on a shard of glass hidden inside a chocolate sundae.
The 11-year-old was tucking into the dessert at Scoops Gelato, in Elm Grove, Southsea, during a trip with his mum when he was left in agony and bleeding from the mouth.
The boy needed stitches at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, Portsmouth, as a result of the ordeal.
Portsmouth City Council’s trading standards team, prosecuting Scoops Gelato at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court yesterday, revealed an error made by staff resulted in the accident.
A worker preparing the dessert tapped the glass with a scoop to pour in the ice cream, unwittingly causing part of it to break and fall in.
Victoria Putnam, council prosecutor, said the cut in the boy’s mouth was ‘severe’ and ‘deep’ – and blamed the firm’s failure to adopt the basic safety procedures of a normal food business for the accident, which happened on June 21 this year.
‘Had the businesses put steps in place – which it has put in place since that incident – it would never have happened,’ she said.
Scoops director Bilal Ahmed pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to serving contaminated food contrary to the Food Safety Act, for which it was fined £6,000.
The firm was also fined £4,000 for failing to have a hazard management plan, which is contrary to EU rules, plus £2,000 for failing to register the venue as a food business with the council at the start of the year.
A council inspection in May revealed the standard of cleaning to be ‘poor’, with examples of poor food hygiene increasing the chances of ice cream being contaminated.
Stale ice cream and packaging was found on the floor and there was no record of staff training. The venue was given a one out of five food hygiene rating, though it has now been awarded a five after stepping up its efforts.
Workers now dip ice cream scoops in hot water to make serving desserts easier, though Ahmed insists they were never trained to tap the glass. Ahmed said he has apologised to the boy’s family, though they are seeking compensation.
Speaking to The News, Ahmed said: ‘It’s unfortunate what has happened to the child, we didn’t want that to happen.
‘We have apologised and have offered to try and make up for it. It was an accident.’
Scoops was also ordered to pay £1,162.13 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
Council warn of safety procedures not being in place
THE dangers of businesses not upholding safety when preparing and serving food has been highlighted after Scoops Gelato was punished for poor practice.
Alan Cufley, the city council’s head of service for environmental health said: ‘Food businesses have a responsibility to have systems in place which ensure the safety of the food they serve.
‘They must also train their staff in safe practices of preparation and delivery.
‘When these responsibilities are overlooked, then customers can be harmed, as this case highlights.’