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Shocked Bristol diner finds metal shards in omelette
A Warmley nurse who was enjoying lunch at a restaurant with her two daughters was shocked when she found some added ingredients she definitely hadn't requested.
Debra Hocking was eating a ham and cheese omelette in the Cabot Square branch of Frankie & Benny's earlier this year when she made the discovery. "I was only a couple of bites into my meal when I crunched down on something, but thought nothing of it," said Mrs Hocking, of Roy King Gardens. "Just as I was about to finish, I noticed some slivers of metal shavings embedded in my omelette. When I cut into the remaining piece, I found several more."
Mrs Hocking, 46, immediately spoke with the manager about the surprise filling. "They said an air-conditioning unit had just been cleaned and the metal shavings might have been caused by that. I couldn't believe it," she said.
Mrs Hocking went to her local hospital where x-rays revealed she had several small shards of metal lodged in her stomach. Her two teenage daughters had each eaten a burger and so were fortunately unaffected.
"I still can't quite believe it," said Mrs Hocking. "How many other people might have been served food full of metal shavings that day? I'm just relieved that the burgers my daughters ate seem to have been ok."
Daniel Denton, of Fentons Solicitors LLP, is representing Mrs Hocking. "This kind of food contamination in a restaurant is obviously a very serious issue, and it is horrifying to think how many other customers could have had their food contaminated in a similar way that day," he said.
The incident, which happened on 22 June 2010, was immediately reported to the Health & Safety Executive and the restaurant was closed for 24 hours. Frankie & Benny's has since admitted primary liability for Mrs Hocking's injuries.
"Debra Hocking just wanted lunch," said Mr Denton. "An omelette stuffed with metal shavings was not the kind of meal she had imagined eating. Debra has since experienced pains in her stomach and is appalled that this was even allowed to happen.
"She is fortunate that the shards appear to have not caused any long-term internal damage," he said. "Now that the restaurant has admitted primary liability, we are hoping to negotiate a settlement in regard to her claim for damages, to ensure she can now move on with her life."
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