A woman from the United Kingdom was forced to have surgery to remove a wire bristle from her throat after eating a panini from the coffee shop chain Caffe Nero.
Katherine Willans, 34, inadvertently ingested the piece of wire after visiting a Caffe Nero shop in south London. The bristle had come from a brush that had been used to clean the contact grill used in the Putney store.
Willans had to go under general aesthetic to extract the wire, and she spent three days in a hospital.
However, the chain has escaped four charges of breaking health and safety regulations in relation to food hygiene – because staff members, and not the company itself, had purchased the wire brush.
According to reports, staff had ignored the coffee chain’s strict training procedures. Instead, they went out and bought their own cleaning tools.
During the trial, a branch manager claimed that she “didn’t think it was her duty” to prevent staff members from using the brush and other self-purchased accessories.
Similar wire brushes were also found to in a number of other Caffe Nero stores, including those in Clapham, south London, and Boston, Lincolnshire.
But, Caffe Nero’s legal team successful argued that the company was not criminally liable for the incident, instead blaming the unpleasant event on individual members of staff.
Judge James Henderson agreed and said that the chain had “taken all reasonable” precautions.
A spokesperson for Wandsworth Council said that the verdict was “very disappointing.”
“At the end of the day, an innocent Caffe Nero customer suffered a very serious injury that required surgery.
“We felt this incident exposed serious shortcomings in the company’s procedures which is why we brought the case to court, but ultimately we must accept the judge’s verdict.”
The incident occurred back in 2014, but the trial has just finished – hence the story coming to light now.
Pic: Unisouth , via Wikimedia Commons