Does this taste funny?

Jongleurs fined over rotting food

It's not the first time a Jongleurs Comedy Club has been accused of serving up stale material past its sell-by date.

But now the chain has been fined £5,000 after rotting food was found in one of its kitchens.

Food hygiene inspectors say they had never seen so much out-of-date food in one place when they paid a routine visit to the club in Bow, East London, in January last year.

Officers from Tower Hamlets council found mouldy chicken fillets, as well as 'a large amount' of cooked meats, coleslaw and meat pies past their use-by dates.

Jongleurs owners Regent Inns admitted the offences when the case came to Marylebone Magistrates Court earlier this month after staff at the club had not been carrying out the company's own food safety policy.

Under a separate offence, a large tub of soured cream was found to be 60 days past its use-by date. The company offered no explanation for this.

Food safety inspector Rick Mason said: "My officers report that they had never seen such a large amount of out-of-date food in one catering premises."

Regent Inns say they have tightened up their procedures since the inspection a year ago, including the recruitment of chef trainers.

Commercial director Simon Kaye told Chortle: "We operate 15 comedy clubs and feel highly justified in claiming that this was an unfortunate but one-off experience whereby we were let down by the kitchen manager at this single club.

"As a company, we enjoy an excellent reputation for high standards of food and drink and I can assure you that the mistakes at Bow were very much out of character for us. They will not be repeated."

In sentencing, the district judge acknowledged that Jongleurs had made efforts to improve standards since the inspection, but said they "should have thought about closing the stable door before the horse had bolted".

The company was also ordered to pay the council's costs of £3,226 at the February 11 hearing.

* Don Ward, owner of Jongleurs rival The Comedy Store launched a complaint against Tower Hamlets Council's newspaper East End Life after its report of the case was ill-advisedly headlined: "Rotting food found in kitchen at comedy store."

Published: 28 Feb 2003

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