Melton Borough Council have prosecuted Krispy Kreme UK Ltd, after a sharp piece of metal was found in a doughnut that was purchased in Melton Mowbray.
The food giant pled guilty to three offences of food hygiene and safety on September 5 and were ordered to pay a substantial fine, costs and a victim surcharge.
The council were first contacted about the incident in April 2021 where they worked with the Food Standards Agency and other partners to investigate the case further.
The complainant had originally contacted Krispy Kreme after purchasing the product. They were informed by the company that the foreign object contaminating the product was a piece of foil from the packaging. However, they disputed this claim and raised their concerns with the Food Standard Agency.
Krispy Kreme later admitted that they had received two further complaints of similar nature and had identified damage to a piece of equipment, a vari-mixer, yet no controls were in place that could have mitigated the hazards that lead to this incident, such as metal detection or recorded checks of the machine.
Prosecuting, Tom Pickwell, Senior Solicitor at Melton Borough Council, told the Court that, “The council would expect a large national company to have appropriate measures in place to ensure the food safety and hygiene throughout the whole process of the manufacturing, including checks on all equipment.
“The fact that the vari-mixer was omitted from the checks does, in the view of the council, fall short of the appropriate levels and a suitable and sufficient safety management system.
“Although some systems were in place, they were not sufficient to deal with the full process which led to the incident and Krispy Kreme did not know how long this had been happening for.”
Mr Pickwell added that the incident presented a risk of an adverse effect such as choking or cutting within the mouth.
In sentencing, the Magistrates said they had taken into account the quality of the equipment, the substantial risk it posed to any customer because of the sharp nature and size of the item and the serious injury that could have happened if it had been swallowed. They also accepted the mitigation put forward by Iain MacDonald, who represented Krispy Kreme and took that into account when sentencing.
The Magistrates fined Krispy Kreme UK Ltd £216,000 based on £72,000 for each of the three offences. Melton Borough Council were also awarded their full costs of £4,255.30 and Krispy Kreme UK Ltd were ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £181.
Cllr Joe Orson, Leader of the Council said, “Thanks to the perseverance of the complainant and the steps they took to preserve the evidence we have been able to take action against this company and are very pleased with the outcome of this case.
“I would like to thank the council’s legal and environmental health teams who worked with our partners, investigated and brought this successful prosecution. Public safety is our primary concern and we hope that our action sends a strong and clear message that the council, the courts and the public take food safety very seriously. We expect appropriate food safety and hygiene standards to be in place and will not hesitate in taking action when these fall short and put public safety at risk.”