Fast food giant Hungry Jacks has been fined $75,000 for selling unsuitable food after a Caversham mother choked on a metal shaving lodged in an onion ring.
A 1.5cm metal shard was found inside an onion ring from a Hungry Jacks store in Beechboro and sold to Caversham woman Melissa Bayle in February.
The fast food outlet stood trial in the Perth Magistrate's Court last month but was this morning found guilty of a charge of selling unsuitable food.
Magistrate Elaine Campione said she was not satisfied Hungry Jacks took reasonable precautions or exercised due diligence to guard against the sale of unsuitable food.
"I am not satisfied the inspections were thorough as I was told or that the cleaning regimes were as thorough as they needed to be," she said in her decision published this morning.
"In my view, the compliance with the training modules is questionable and relates to the individual attitude of each employee."
The court was told the maximum penalty for selling unsuitable food was a fine of $200,000.
The company's lawyer Hugh O'Sullivan told the court this morning it was the first conviction for the fast food giant which has more than 40 stores in WA and served 261,000 customers last week alone.
"Hungry Jacks takes food hygiene and preparation very, very seriously," he said.
Mr O'Sullivan said what had happened was regrettable and "has been the subject of much soul searching for management".
Prosecutor David Nadebaum argued for a hefty penalty, saying the offence was serious and could have caused Mrs Bayle serious injury.
During the trial last month, the court heard Mrs Bayle reported the incident to the City of Bayswater, with the council sending environmental health officers to inspect the store the following day.
In addition to the fine, Hungry Jacks was also ordered to pay costs of $11,545.
A spokesman for Hungry Jack’s said the company was “surprised and disappointed” by the findings and intended to appeal the decision.
“We have sophisticated quality assurance and rigorous training systems, which we believe stand up to scrutiny,” he said.