Prawn cocktail with bugs in it served to customers

Lau leaves Livingston Sheriff Court after being fined. Picture: Vic Roderick

Lau leaves Livingston Sheriff Court after being fined. Picture: Vic Roderick

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A CHINESE restaurant owner in the Lothians who dished up a prawn cocktail containing insects was fined £650 yesterday.

Philip Lau admitted that he had not washed the lettuce he used as the base for his seafood starter.

Lau, 65, claimed that he had brought the salad leaves from a major retailer and believed they would be clean.

He told Livingston Sheriff Court that he would normally wash lettuce he bought from a wholesaler.

He was charged after a shocked couple found the insects, which were not identified, included in their meal order from the Mei Hua Platform restaurant at West Calder station.

They called West Lothian Council’s environmental health department and reported their unsavoury discovery.

Inspectors visited the restaurant on March 27, 2016, and Lau showed them the lettuce he had used – still infested with bugs.

He was later charged with food safety and food hygiene offences.

Lau appeared for sentence yesterday after earlier pleading guilty to serving food that was “not of the quality demanded by the purchaser”.

He also admitted failing to maintain a suitable decontamination process which he is supposed to follow under a food safety management system called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).

Sheriff Douglas Kinloch said he would have imposed a fine of £1000. However, he decided to discount the amount to £650 because Lau had admitted his guilt at an early stage in the proceedings.

He allowed Lau three months to pay the fine.

Mei Hua Platform, based in the station’s former booking office on the commuter line from Glasgow to Edinburgh, charges £3.50 for a prawn cocktail.

The business has had mixed reviews on the TripAdvisor website, with 18 people ranking it as “excellent” or “very good” and 15 people rating it as “average” “poor” or “terrible”.