An Indian takeaway has been fined £15,000 after a customer found a 3cm metal screw baked into an onion bhaji.
Magistrates hit Nice and Spicy curry house with the penalty after it was charged with the sale of food that was unfit for human consumption.
The charge was one of seven breaches of food safety and hygiene rules discovered by health chiefs who inspected the takeaway after receiving a complaint.
The takeaway, situated in Church Street, Lancaster, was inspected by environmental health officers after the customer complained.
Magistrates were told that food hygiene inspectors from Lancaster City Council visited the premises in January 2019 and found a number of food hygiene offences.
Lancaster Magistrates' Court heard there was building work being done at the premises and food was not adequately protected from contamination.
Ingredients without lids were stored in the dry store goods area which was dusty and dirty and the structure was unfinished, while a number of other food hygiene contraventions were found during the visit.
The company, a limited liability partnership registered in Oldham that operates the Lancaster store, did not appear in court and was not represented.
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Magistrates agreed to hear the case in its absence and found the company guilty on all seven charges.
Mark Davies, director of communities and the environment at Lancaster City Council, said: “All food businesses have a fundamental duty to their customers to operate their businesses in a responsible way to ensure that the food they provide is prepared in hygienic conditions and is fit for human consumption.
“Whilst the vast majority of our food businesses achieve a food hygiene rating of at least 3, and that many of our food businesses have a rating of four or five, where this is not the case and businesses are not able to demonstrate that they are taking steps to improve their practices, the city council will not hesitate to prosecute.
“I urge anyone thinking of eating out or buying a takeaway to check out the food hygiene rating of the business."
The firm had previously been issued with a written warning after an unannounced inspection revealed similar concerns in November 2018.
The inspecting officer had found uncovered food ingredients stored at risk of contamination.
In addition to the fine, the firm must also pay a victim surcharge of £170 and £1,553.48 costs.