A TAKEWAY boss has been found guilty of selling food containing part of a blade from a potato chipping machine.

Hashem Zare, 40, who ran the former Ash Kebab House in Durham was convicted following a trial at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Monday, April 29).

The court heard how sales executive Lynda Cox swallowed a piece of blade after ordering pie, chips and peas from the shop on the Dragonville Industrial Estate on January 14 last year.

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Catherine Burgess, prosecuting for Durham County Council, said: “The complainant luckily induced vomiting and was able to retrieve the blade.”

Miss Burgess read a statement from Mrs Cox, who is from Bishop Auckland and who works at The Northern Echo offices in Durham.

She said: “When I was eating my meal I felt a sharp pain in my throat as I swallowed. I knew it was not right. I ran to the ladies and made myself wretch and to my horror I saw it was a sharp blade.”

Shocked staff at the office contacted environmental health services at Durham County Council.

Susan Brown, senior environmental health officer, launched an immediate investigation and visited Ash Kebab House the following day.

Ms Brown said: “We found an old-fashioned, floor-mounted food mixer with an attachment at the front for chipping potatoes.

“We found that three of the blades were missing. He said he had bought the chipper attachment second hand and two of the blades were already missing.”

Analysis showed the blade in the food was similar to those in the chipping machine and Zare, of Kell Crescent, Sherburn Hill, accepted it was from his machine.

Giving evidence, he said while cleaning the machine after the incident he found part of a blade was missing.

He said: “I do not understand how the blade would break. The potatoes are peeled and washed by hand. It is the first time I have seen it happen.”

Zare was found guilty of selling food with a metal blade inside, which rendered the food not of the nature or substance demanded by the purchaser.

He was fined £1,750 and ordered to pay £750 towards the total prosecution costs of £1,702.65.

Zare will also pay £750 in compensation towards Mrs Cox as well as a £175 victim surcharge.

Ash Kebab House has now changed its name and is under new management while Zare now runs La Pizza on Sherburn Road, Durham.