Celebrity restaurant fined over organic claimOwners ordered to pay £11,500

19 December 2006

A knife and fork next to a plate

A London restaurant which counts Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Minogue among its celebrity clients has been ordered to pay more than £11,500 after claiming standard meat was organic.

Julie's Restaurant in London's Holland Park listed sausages, roast chicken and rack of lamb as organic when they were not.

It is thought to be the first restaurant in the UK to be found guilty of the offence, according to Kensington and Chelsea Council which brought the prosecution.

Environmental health officers realised there were no delivery notes to back up the organic claims while carrying out a routine inspection.

Organic meat

They seized records relating to the restaurant's meat purchases and interviewed meat suppliers before prosecuting the restaurant under the Food Safety Act.

Environmental health officers found the restaurant had not been supplied with any organic meat between 1 October and 21 November last year.

They calculated Julie's Restaurant could have saved nearly £4,200 buying standard chicken instead of organic during that period.

At a hearing on 12 December at West London Magistrates Court the managing partner of Julie's Restaurant, Johnny Ekperigin, pleaded guilty to displaying the three types of meat as organic.

He was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £4,297 costs.

‘Betrayal of lifestyle’

Commenting on the outcome, Kensington and Chelsea council's cabinet member for public health and environment Cllr Fiona Buxton said: ‘For many visitors to the restaurant this has led to a betrayal of lifestyle.

‘Consumers buy into the idea of organic food either due to the health implications or in support of good animal husbandry. Julie's Restaurant has cheated them of these values.’

The website for Julie's Restaurant lists a string of celebrity clients including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kylie Minogue, Jeremy Paxman and Robbie Williams.

Julie's Restaurant did not wish to comment on the verdict.