A chef has received death threats after claiming to have "spiked" a "pious and judgmental" vegan in her restaurant.
Laura Goodman, made the comments on Facebook, after losing patience with a group of vegan and vegetarian diners at the Italian restaurant she co-owns in Shifnal, Shropshire on Saturday night.
The Italian born chef claimed to have been angered after spending all day cooking vegan recipes for the group, which they then failed to order.
After finishing the hectic service in the kitchen of Carlini restaurant, Ms Goodman posted a message in a closed Facebook group, which read: "Spiked a vegan a few hours ago."
She later added: "Pious, judgmental vegan (who I spent all day cooking for) has gone to bed still believing she's a vegan.
But within hours the remarks had sparked a backlash so extreme that the very future of the business was left hanging in the balance and Ms Goodman was left fearing for her safety.
Angry vegans - who eat no animal products - took to social media sites in their hundreds, to attack her actions.
They also hacked the restaurant's website, positing offensive pictures and comments.
One wrote: "This lady should be charged with assault. We are vegan for a reason. To disregard our wishes and boast about contaminating our food is at least a sackable offence."
Another added: "Feeding a non vegan meal to someone who has made the compassionate or potentially even medical choice not to eat animal products intentionally is disgraceful and then to brag about it on your Facebook page. I hope you are ashamed of yourself."
A group of local vegetarians and vegans threatened to picket the restaurant and urged other diners to stay away.
Hope Lye, founder of Telford Vegan Action, who was organising the protest, said: "I have had dairy product put in a meal before and because I have been a vegan so long I ended up in hospital with violent diarrhea and violent stomach cramps.
“When you are trying to live an ethical lifestyle this is a place where you expect the chef to get it right, so this is absolutely appalling”.
She added: “I am an ethical specist and don’t want to harm any being on this planet and the last thing I’d want to do is consume any animal product”.
As a result of the adverse publicity the restaurant's review rating plummeted on the TripAdvisor website.
Last night Ms Goodman's partner Michael Gale apologised for any upset the matter had caused, but insisted it had been a huge "misunderstanding".
He said: "Laura is absolutely mortified by the comments she made which were posted in the early hours of the morning after a very long shift and too much to drink.
"There is no question of her having 'spiked' anyone. We had a group of vegetarian and vegan customers who booked a table.
"Laura had spoken to them before they came in and had suggested some dishes they might like to try which they said they would be happy to order.
"But instead when they did come in they only ordered two dishes off the a standard menu, a roasted cauliflower dish and a margherita pizza which obviously has buffalo mozzarella cheese.
"When one of the waitresses came into the kitchen she commented that she thought one of the vegans had been eating the pizza. The comment came from that.
"There is no way Laura would ever do anything to jeopardize the business that we have put so much work into. She is absolutely mortified by what has happened and we can only offer our sincere apologies for these ill-advised comments.
"Unfortunately Laura has death threats which we have reported to the police."
A spokesman for the restaurant added: "We want to assure everyone that the meals were all prepared to our usual high standards and in accordance with the Food Standards Agency. No meat was used in any of the dishes."
"We are passionate about creating high quality food and all of our chefs are trained to understand the different dietary requirements of our customers, many of whom are vegetarian and or increasingly vegan.”
A spokesman for Shropshire Council’s regulatory services department, Gareth Profitt, said: “We have received complaints in relation to this matter and are currently investigating. We are therefore unable to comment further at this time.”