Tuesday, February 19, 2008

You Are What You Eat

ROATH—Two café-owners were today fined for selling chocolate cake sprinkled with animal faeces. A horrified customer consumed the foul-smelling gateaux but felt something wasn’t quite right. “I had to hold my nose while chewing, but after three or four bites I became very suspicious.” The customer (who wishes to remain anonymous) turned the cake over to public health officials.

“I was doing my duty,” said Alfred Rammol, of Roath, Cardiff.

Analysts soon established that the sweet treat was covered in animal faeces and legal proceedings against the café’s owners commenced.

Bevis Hashabi, 25, and Jean-Claude Bonnifice, 23, were fined £1,500 for selling recycled food without proper labeling. The pair —who ran Le Shat Noir in Roath—admitted the charge, but refused to reveal their recipe.

Le Shat Noir (formerly “Le Chat Noir”) is a favorite with late-night revelers and students living around Cardiff University.

A spokeswoman for the public health department in Cardiff City Council said: “The gentleman who bought the cake realized it didn't taste or smell quite right so he reported it to us." Subsequent examination by the public analyst confirmed the presence of animal faecal matter. "Droppings were sprinkled all over the cake. We cannot say for sure what kind of faecal matter it is, although it likely came from a baboon or hyena. It will have to be tested for DNA.”

Hashabi and Bonnifice pleaded guilty at Cardiff magistrates court and were each fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £200 costs.

After the case Hashabi said: "The charges were crap and I don't want to talk about it. We’ve had it up to here with the food industry.”

Shams Mehroobi, who took over the café in March and renamed it (“Le Scat Noir”) after the famous publication, condemned the actions of the two men. He now has a huge hygiene certificate framed on the wall and said: "Everyone can see that I have the highest standards. This is a completely different place now. We have a lot of happy customers and our menu guarantees their satisfaction.”

Indeed, the café’s slogan appears prominently on the menu: "If you’ve come here to eat shit, please take your business elsewhere."