TV Chef Wim Ballieu has been ordered to pay a €2,000 fine for hygiene breaches in the establishment of his meatball restaurant Balls & Glory in Brussels.
In the Brussels branch of Balls & Glory (B&G), during an inspection by the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) in September 2019, mouse droppings were found in the cellar, as well as food whose expiry date had passed.
Infringements had already been found in 2017 and 2018, according to reporting by De Standaard, which is why the public prosecutor decided to summon Wim Ballieu.
His company B&G Belgium Besloten Vennootschap was fined €4,000. During the hearing of the case, Ballieu reacted with shock to the summons. According to Ballieu, the findings aren’t entirely correct.
“It is suggested that we have vermin in the restaurant, but that is not the case,” Ballieu said.
“At the time, there were sewerage works in the street, and the two buildings next to us were empty, from where the mice came. It is up to the city to do something about pest control. We invested thousands of euros and the pest control came every two weeks. What more can you do?”
Ballieu also disputed the other findings regarding expired food and tried to back it up with a lab analysis.
“The perception that we serve spoiled food is not correct,” said Ballieu.
“Our meatballs are vacuum-sealed, the date was the production date. This lab analysis shows that they can be reheated afterwards. In the meantime, we adjusted the packaging stating that the product cannot be consumed cold.”
The TV chef now has 30 days to appeal the judgement.
“Whether I take that step, I will not decide yet,” said Ballieu.
“We are looking into this. This case has had a big impact on us, but I can only emphasise that we have never had mice in our kitchen in the Brussels branch. We have never put people in danger.”
The Brussels Times