A fast food chain has been fined $21,000 after a Perth customer crunched down on metal shards in his takeaway meal.
Red Rooster today pleaded guilty to serving food that was unsuitable after metal shards from maintenance work were discovered in chips from its outlet on Walter Road East in Morley.
The metal fragments were discovered after a customer bit down into chips and felt the shards which measured between 1-3mm.
The details were heard in the Perth Magistrate's Court this morning, where a prosecutor argued that profits had motivated a "commercial" decision to keep using a chip warmer despite workers doing maintenance on lights above it at the same time.
The court heard that fragments of metal had fallen into the food in the chip warmer.
Magistrate Colin Roberts today said "common sense" should have seen the warmer moved or disused during the maintenance and then cleaned before any food was put back in it.
But he rejected suggestions it was a profit-based decision to keep using it, rather he found the failure to move it had been out of laziness.
A lawyer representing Red Rooster said the chain relied on its brand and reputation in the community and was regretful of the "isolated incident".
The store manager and assistant manager had not followed policy and training that would have seem the food service machinery shutdown and then cleaned, she said.
The store manager had since been sacked and the assistant manager counselled and forced to undergo more training.
The fast food chain's lawyer said the company was thankful the customer who discovered the metal had not suffered any injuries.
But Mr Roberts said the fact it took a customer to "crunch" down on his food to find the shards made the case more serious.
"They did bite down on to the chips and crunch down on to the metal," the magistrate said.
At the same time, he acknowledge that the company had pleaded guilty rather than fight the case at trial.