Krispy Kreme has been fined more than £200,000 ($234,000) in England after a sharp piece of metal was found in a doughnut.
The company pleaded guilty to three food hygiene and safety offenses earlier this month and was ordered to pay a fine, costs and a victim surcharge. Krispy Kreme UK was fined £216,000 ($252,000) based on £72,000 ($84,000) for each of the three offenses. Melton Borough Council was awarded full costs and the company was ordered to pay a victim surcharge.
Melton Borough Council prosecuted Krispy Kreme UK after the foreign body was found in a doughnut purchased in Melton Mowbray.
The council, which was contacted about the incident in April 2021, worked with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and other bodies to investigate the case.
The complainant originally contacted Krispy Kreme after buying the product, only to be told the contamination was a piece of foil from the packaging. However, the complainant disputed that claim and raised concerns with the FSA.
Krispy Kreme later admitted it had received two other similar complaints and had identified damage to a piece of equipment, a varimixer, yet no controls were in place to mitigate the hazards that led to the incident, such as metal detection or recorded checks of the machine.
Tom Pickwell, senior solicitor at Melton Borough Council, said: “The council would expect a large national company to have appropriate measures in place to ensure the food safety and hygiene throughout the whole process of the manufacturing, including checks on all equipment.
“The fact that the varimixer was omitted from the checks does, in the view of the council, fall short of the appropriate levels and a suitable and sufficient safety management system. Although some systems were in place, they were not sufficient to deal with the full process which led to the incident and Krispy Kreme did not know how long this had been happening for.”
In sentencing, magistrates took into account the quality of the equipment, the substantial risk it posed to any customer because of the sharpness and size of the item, and the serious injury that could have occurred if it had been swallowed.
Metal detection advice
Senior management of the company went to court to express their regret and say that it was the first time Krispy Kreme had been in court and had been asked to respond to a formal investigation.
Joe Orson, leader of the council, thanked the perseverance of the complainant and the steps they took to preserve evidence.
“Public safety is our primary concern and we hope that our action sends a strong and clear message that the council, the courts and the public take food safety very seriously. We expect appropriate food safety and hygiene standards to be in place and will not hesitate in taking action when these fall short and put public safety at risk.”
Krispy Kreme used consultants to assist them with food safety compliance and the firm was told that metal detection was not required.
The case also involved Nottingham City Council, as that is where the new plant is based. Environmental health officers visited the site in June 2021 and advised the company to review the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan, particularly in respect to metal detection. Krispy Kreme installed metal detection technology in August 2021.
“We apologize unreservedly for this incident and for any upset caused to the affected customer,” said a company statement.
“We fully accept the outcome and lessons learnt from this process, and appreciate the support and input from our Primary Authority, Surrey Heath Borough. Krispy Kreme are committed to high standards of health, safety, quality, and hygiene, and we have put in place additional controls that will help prevent an issue like this occurring again.”
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