Hong Kong court fines Circle K after customer finds 208 ants in hot dog

Judge demands store improve its supervision as investigations found 208 ants in the hot dog in total

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2016, 8:33am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 October, 2016, 11:03am

Circle K was fined HK$3,500 by the Eastern Court after a customer found 208 ants in a hot dog sold at one of its outlets in Wah Fu Estate in January.

Special magistrate Arthur Lam Hei-wei asked the store to step up its supervision and said that he understood that ants may be small but one is one too many, and there were more than 200 in this case.

He was told that a customer bought a hot dog from the Wah Fu Estate Town Centre store on January 23, when he discovered that the bread came with many ants.

He reported the case to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.

Subsequent examinations found that there were 208 ants in total.

A company representative from the Circle K Convenience Stores (HK) on Monday pleaded guilty to one summons of food not of the quality demanded by the purchaser.

Prosecutors said that the company had six past convictions, but that it was a first for this particular store.

The court heard in mitigation that the store stepped up its cleaning after receiving the customer complaint, but it did not find any ants even after dismantling machines for checks.

Circle K told the Post that the hot dog may have been contaminated outside the store because the ants were found 20 minutes after the customer left the premises. The company said it pleaded guilty anyway to avoid prolonging the legal process.

“We, Circle K, always put the products’ safety and food hygiene as top priorities,” the company spokesman said.

“The outlet at Wah Fu Estate had been inspected by an officer from [the department] for the case reported, and he was satisfied with the store conditions for food production without further question.”