When it comes to restaurant horror stories, we think you’d have to go some way to beat this one. A dead lion was found in the freezer of a British restaurant during a routine inspection by environmental health officers.
That’s right. You read it correct. A dead lion. How on earth you get your hands on a dead lion in the UK, let alone store it in the freezer of your restaurant is anybody’s guess.
But wait, It gets worse. A lot worse. The dead lion wasn’t just stored in a self-contained freezer on its own. No, that would be too simple.
The frozen corpse of the former king of the jungle was found stuffed next to food which was due to be served to any unsuspecting customers who might happen to pass the restaurant and decide it looked like a pretty wholesome place to eat.
The owner of the restaurant told the concerned health inspectors that a nearby zoo had donated the lion to him so he could use it to feed his pack of dogs. The big cat was under no circumstances to be used for human consumption.
The gruesome discovery was made by Ian Brightmore, health protection manager at Chichester District Council In West Sussex, but The Mirror reported that Ian is remaining tight-lipped about exactly where and when he found the frozen beast.
“When I was working in another area I came across a dead lion in a freezer. The food establishment was near a zoo and the owner kept pack hounds so it was food for them. Because the lion was kept in a place where food for human consumption was stored, of course we had to take action.
“The first thing we do is to seek cooperation in putting things right and this usually works. In situations where it doesn’t we can serve a hygiene improvement notice, which legally requires the owner to make improvements by a certain period of time.
“If we find something we deem to be dangerous, we can serve an emergency prohibition notice. That means a premises must shut until that problem is resolved.
“Most take the decision to voluntarily close so as not to draw attention to the public but for those who refuse, we can go to the court where the magistrate will confirm the notice and turn it into an order.
“It will then close until we are happy that it’s safe to re-open, normally that takes two or three days, although a cockroach infestation can take longer as they’re difficult to get rid of. In the most extreme cases, we have the powers of prosecution.”
As having a dead lion in your freezer only counts as one health code violation, the restaurant was allowed to stay open, and it’s business as usual.
But please. If you’re thinking of paying it a visit, Just don’t order the mane course or ask for the lion’s share. Now let me hear you roar.