A Welsh branch of KFC has been slammed for its cooking and training procedures, including a lack of documented checks on oil levels in its pressure fryer, after it served undercooked chicken to a customer.
The fast food chain has been handed a fine of £35,000 and ordered to pay more than £6,000 in costs following a three-day trial at Newport Magistrates Court last week.
The case was brought to court after an investigation by Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Environmental Health Officers into a complaint received from a member of the public.
The investigation revealed that on 4 February 2017 a three-piece variety meal had been purchased by the complainant using the drive-thru at KFC Blackwood. When starting to eat the original recipe chicken portions it became apparent the chicken was not cooked.
The Environmental Health Officer dealing with the complaint sent the chicken portions to the public analyst who found conclusively that all three pieces of chicken on the bone had not been thoroughly cooked.
Further visits to the restaurant and assessment of documentation provided by the company revealed failures in the company’s procedures giving rise to the sale of undercooked chicken.
The District Judge found Kentucky Fried Chicken (Great Britain) Ltd guilty of two offences – one of placing unsafe food on the market and one of failing to implement safe cooking procedures.
The company was ordered to pay a fine of £35,000, together with prosecution costs of £6,122, a £170 victim surcharge and £500 compensation to the complainant.
In his judgement, the District Judge highlighted numerous issues with KFC procedures, including failure to implement correct staff training procedures and lack of documented checks on oil levels in the pressure fryer.
The restaurant where the incident took place has since been sold and is now owned and run by a franchise.
Caerphilly Council acknowledged that the Blackwood KFC restaurant has undergone extensive refurbishment since the incident took place last year and changed ownership.
Cllr Eluned Stenner, cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “Our Environmental Health Officers conducted a thorough investigation and secured a successful outcome in order to protect consumers and public health.”
A KFC spokesperson stated: “We have robust policies and procedures relating to our food, so we’re really disappointed with the outcome of this hearing. We take food hygiene and safety very seriously, which is reflected in the fact that 99% of our restaurants nationwide have a 4 or 5-star hygiene rating from the Food Standards Authority. That includes our Blackwood restaurant, which holds a five-star rating.”