British restaurant fined $86,000 for serving food on wooden boards

Burgers on wooden boards are common in many Australian and British restaurants.
Burgers on wooden boards are common in many Australian and British restaurants. Photo: Shuttershock

A restaurant in Birmingham, England, has copped a hefty fine for serving food on wooden planks instead of plates.

Ibrahim's Grill and Steakhouse was fined £50,000 ($86,000) on January 4 for failing to comply with food safety requirements.

According to the Twitter account of Birmingham City Council, Ibrahim's was visited by health inspectors in October 2016 after an alleged food poisoning outbreak affecting a party of 14.

It was found that the wooden serving boards used by the restaurant were incapable of being hygienically cleaned due to charcoal stains and surface cracks where debris could possibly accumulate.

Other health issues identified included a high-level reliance on disposable gloves instead of the washing of hands and sanitising chemicals not being used in accordance with manufacturer instructions.

The council served Ibrahim's with an improvement notice to remedy the issues but on a return visit to the restaurant in December 2016, officers found the same wooden serving boards were still being used.

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"It is completely unacceptable for businesses to put the health of people eating at their restaurants at risk," said Mark Croxford, head of environmental health at Birmingham City Council. "The owners were given sound advice which they chose to ignore. I am pleased magistrates supported our efforts with a large fine and hope advice we give on improving businesses to protect health will not be ignored in future."

It is unclear who enjoys eating anything off a wooden plank that isn't charcuterie, cheese or bread. Although perfectly fine to carve a shared lamb shoulder, say, the wooden board is hopeless for individual use. Meat juices have a habit of dribbling onto the table and most diners feel ridiculous eating chips off a plank.

Only slate trumps plank in the stupid serving surface stakes. At least a knife on wood doesn't sound like a chalkboard being tormented by a coathanger.

For more crimes against crockery, check out the rather great Twitter account of We Want Plates. Shovels. Shoes. Reinforced steel joints. They're all there.