Jersey tavern fined after cook fired for spitting in food

The Budd Lake tavern where a cook was arrested for spitting in a customer’s food last month, was fined $400 and $132 in court costs following an inspection after the incident.

no.spittingThe owner of Kennedy’s Pub, Bipin Patel of Rutherford, pleaded guilty before Municipal Court Judge Brian Levine on Monday, Nov. 3, to failing to keep food safe and unadulterated, failing to protect food from contamination, failure to have a person in charge with a food safety certificate and failure to maintain overall cleanliness. Patel was fined $100 and $33 in costs for each charge.

Health officials were asked to inspect the tavern after the incident on Oct. 18. The cook, John F. Stagg Jr., 32, of Great Meadows, was charged with spitting in food after it was returned by a 51-year-old customer for being undercooked. Another employee claimed to see Stagg spit in the food. Stagg was fired after the incident.

The kitchen was closed but the pub was allowed to remain open after the initial inspection. A subsequent inspection showed the violations were corrected and the tavern and pub were allowed to reopen on Monday Nov. 3.