17th Dec, 2017

Takeaway owner fined after customer given corrosive undiluted vinegar to drink leaving her hospitalised

Leamington Editorial 14th Sep, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A FISH and chip shop owner has been fined after giving a customer corrosive undiluted vinegar to drink, leaving her hospitalised with burns to her mouth and throat.

On September 10 at Leamington Magistrates’ Court, Ali Varvil of Leamington Fish Bar and Spa Catering Ltd was fined £510 for putting a member of the public’s health and safety at risk and an extra £3,440 towards the council’s prosecution costs.

In the early hours of the morning on July 19 last year an employee at the Tavistock Street shop gave a customer a small container of ‘condiment essence’ – undiluted vinegar –  to drink after a conversation regarding the liquid.

He advised her it was a ‘strong vinegar’, and it was not placed on her food.

But the essence she drank was labelled as ‘pure acetic acid’ and is corrosive until diluted.

Shortly after drinking it the woman became unwell and began vomiting. . She was taken to hospital by ambulance where she remained for three days, receiving treatment for corrosive chemical burns to her mouth and oesophagus.

An investigation by Warwick District Council (WDC) officers revealed none of the shop staff had been appropriately trained in the dilution procedure for the product. This resulted in the staff member who gave the customer undiluted vinegar not recognising it was a hazardous and corrosive chemical which would cause serious injury if ingested.

WDC spokeswoman for health, coun Moira-Ann Grainger said: “Warwick District Council working with businesses to allow them to effectively protect their staff and members of the public from risks to their health and safety. Where there is evidence that a business has failed to meet acceptable standards and placed persons at risk we will take enforcement action.”

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