Ask Italian fined £40,000 for lack of lobster in lobster dish

Restaurant chain Ask Italian has been fined £40,000 after it was found to have “misled” customers over one of its lobster dishes.

The chain, which is owned by the Azzurri Restaurant Group but trades under the Ask name, was fined by Swansea Magistrate after an investigation by Swansea trading standards officers found that its Lobster Aragosta e Gamberoni dish contained only 35% lobster – and was actually also made up of 35% white fish.

According to the BBC, it was revealed to the court that the cost of the the ingredients would have totalled just £2.84, while the dish was marketed as the most expensive item on the menu at £14.95.

The brand pleaded guilty to selling food with a misleading label between December 2016 and March 2019 and was fined at Swansea Magistrate Court, contrary to the 1990 Food Safety Act.

The BBC added that Ask apologised for the “error” and accepted that the menu description was incorrect and was likely to mislead.

A statement from Ask Italian said: ““We take any matter involving our food and restaurants extremely seriously, including this charge which relates to the naming and menu description of our Aragosta e Gamberoni dish. Every one of our dishes goes through robust research, testing, training and review, with many receiving awards.

“In this case we made a genuine mistake in the incomplete naming of the dish for which we are very sorry. We had no intention of misleading our customers. Immediately after we became aware of the issue, the fresh pasta dish in question was replaced by the Pasta Fresca King Prawn and Crayfish dish.”

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