By Tom Tuite
INSECTS were found crawling around in a box of sweets bought at a cinema in Tallaght in Dublin, a court has heard.
Irish Multiplex Cinema (IMC) Tallaght Ltd was convicted and fined €700 after pleading guilty at Dublin District Court to selling contaminated food that was unsafe for human consumption.
The prosecution was brought by the Health Service Executive (HSE) under an EU law regulating food safety. It came after a complaint about the cinema, which is in the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, was made to environmental health officer Fiona Healy.
Outlining the facts of the case, solicitor Adrian Lennon, for the HSE, told Judge John Brennan that the case related to IMC Tallaght which could be described as a low risk food retailer selling confectionery, soft drinks and popcorn.
On Dec. 8 last customers bought sweets at the cinema which were put into a card board container which they later brought home.
“When they were getting to the bottom, they discovered a lot of insects crawling among the sweets in the container,” Mr Lennon said.
This rendered the product unsuitable for human consumption by reason of contamination.
IMC Tallaght’s solicitor told the court that the sweets were a small quantity which had come from a larger mass provided by a third party supplier. That product line has now been discontinued, the court heard.
The food hygiene offence could result in class-B fine of up to €3,000, the court was told.
Judge Brennan said it was clearly a serious matter as the defendant is a large business operation with thousands of consumers going there on a regular basis. That, he said, has to be taken into account an aggravating factor.
He also said it must have been particularly discommoding for the cinema-goers to find the insects at the bottom of their sweets.
However, he noted the cinema had no prior criminal convictions, the quantity was very small and there was a third party supplier. They had discontinued the product line and had taken appropriate action, he said.
He imposed a €700 fine and ordered that it must be paid within three months. Judge Brennan ruled that due to the guilty plea being entered on the first day the case was before the court he was not going to order the cinema firm to pay prosecution costs.
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