Indian restaurant fined $13,000 after health inspectors find "pet meat" being processed in kitchen
Cafe Marica was found to have mutton marked in bags labeled 'pet meat' and was handed down a hefty fine for breaking food regulations.
An Indian restaurant in Perth, Australia, has been fined $13,000 by health inspectors after they found 'pet meat' in its kitchen premises. The Department of Health published a notice online, stating that Kopikaran Krishnasamy and Kalaiamutham Pty Ltd, trading as Cafe Marica was guilty of breaching food regulations this past February. According to the Daily Mail, when the City of Gosnells food safety inspectors visited the restaurant, located in Perth's southern suburb of Canning Vale, they found 15 kilos of mutton marked 'Pet Meat - Not Fit For Human Consumption' opened and being processed in the kitchen.
Cafe Marica was handed down a hefty fine for failing to comply with food safety regulations — $12,000 for court costs and an additional $1382.30 in costs for failing to prevent pet meat being handled in premises where food was sold. However, it is unclear whether any of the pet meat was served to a customer in the restaurant. Speaking about the case, City of Gosnells chief executive officer Ian Cowie said, "The breach related to the fact that pet meat was found at premises where food was prepared and sold for human consumption. Some of the meat was being processed by Mr. Krishnasamy, however, the City had no evidence that the pet meat was for consumption by customers."
In a statement, owner Krishnasamy defended his restaurant and insisted that the mix-up was because of a new supplier. "We believe our mistake was trusting our supplier blindly and going ahead with the purchase back in February 2018," he wrote on Facebook. "Since then, we have immediately discontinued purchases from the supplier and stepped up our hygiene practices."
He also assured customers that none of the meat had been consumed by anyone who visited the restaurant at the time. "We are truly grateful no-one has consumed the meat and that the inspection officers have helped us save our customers from an unpleasant experience," he wrote.
A spokesman for the business explained to Armdale Community News that the meat arrived at the kitchen and went under the radar because their chef did not know how to properly read English. "We usually buy our lamb from reputable buyers such as Woolworths or Coles," he said, adding that they chose a different supplier on this occasion because of a customer recommendation.
The chef then reportedly began preparing the meat as lamb just as the safety inspectors entered the restaurant for a check. When questioned about it, Cafe Marica claimed that the salesman brought in the meat in a bag labeled as such because he wanted to avoid tighter regulations. "We want to do the right thing and move forward as a business," the spokesman added.