Bar fined £25k after serving man caustic soda
Source: the drinks business
by Lauren Eads
8th January, 2016
A bar and its owner have been fined £25,000 after serving a customer a glass of caustic soda instead of beer, causing burns so severe that the man’s oesophagus to be removed.
David Caminal, a TV producer from Spain, was drinking at the New Conservatory Bar in Leeds in July 2014 when he was served what looked like a pale ale, but was in fact beer line cleaner, as reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
On drinking the toxic fluid Caminal collapsed and was later placed in an induced coma, having suffered severe internal injuries, and eventually had to have surgery to remove his gullet.
The bartender who served the caustic soda was said to be unaware that the line was being cleaned at the time, with an investigation concluding that a new member of staff had turned the beer badge on the pump to face customers prior to the drink being served, not realising that it had been turned inward to indicate it was not available.
Director Nick Bird, who owns TNC Cafe Bars and Music Ltd, admitted failing to protect the health and safety of customers and was said to be “devastated” by what happened.
Appearing at Leeds Magistrate’s Court yesterday, 31-year-old Bird, of Back York Street, Leeds, was fined £20,000 as an individual, while the company itself was fined £5,000. Both Bird and the company were also ordered to pay costs of almost £18,000.