The owner of a cafe in Western Australia has been charged by a Perth council with selling “unsuitable food” after a family allegedly tested positive for THC after they claim they were served a hash brownie.
The family, who have asked not to be identified, visited the Bada Bing Café in Woodlands, western Perth, Australia in March of this year.
The mother says that she, daughter Emily and three-year-old son Thomas all shared a brownie at the cafe, which prides itself as being child-friendly, with “toys and colouring in to keep the little ones happy”.
Shortly after eating the cake, the little girl began behaving oddly, and seemed to be seeing things that were not there.
Emily’s mother told ABC Radio Perth: ”It was very frightening, I was trying to calm Emily; she would calm down, and then she would just open her eyes and give out this blood-curdling scream.”
“Her heart was racing so much, that I actually couldn’t count it … I was terrified, and so was Emily.
After they went to hospital, Sharon began developing similar symptoms, while their three-year-old son Thomas was drowsy.
Tests showed Sharon and the two children all had traces of marijuana in their system, according to the ABC
Michael, who did not eat the brownie or have any symptoms, said he returned to the cafe the next day and bought another brownie.
In a statement from its lawyers, the owners of the cafe said the allegations were a “total shock”.
The ABC reported that the girl’s father said he purchased a second brownie and gave it to police for testing.
The City of Stirling, which enforces food quality legislation, said one brownie showed the presence of THC and one showed the presence of cannabinoids.
The incident was reported to police and investigated by the City of Stirling, which charged the business owner with two counts of selling unsuitable food, contrary to section 18 of the Food Act 2008.
That offence carries fines of up to $40,000 for individuals.
The cafe owners said they only became aware of the charges when they were reported by the ABC on Tuesday, and said neither they nor their lawyer had received a summons.
In a statement, the City of Stirling said the alleged offences occurred on 2 and 3 March.
“Analysis of one brownie confirmed the presence of THC and other cannabinoids,” a spokeswoman for the council said.
Following a council investigation, business owner Nathan Sharp, trading as Bada Bing Cafe, was charged by the council with two counts of selling food that was unsuitable on March 2 and 3.
He is due to face Perth Magistrates Court on July 19.
“We can assure our residents and the community that we have done a thorough investigation,” the council spokeswoman said.
“This appears to be an isolated incident and the city believes it has addressed any potential risk to the community.”
“It came as a total shock to us that a Perth family is alleging that they became ill after eating at our café,” Simona Sharp said in a statement.
“We of course have, and continue to fully investigate this allegation.
“There will now be a court process, which has to take its course.
“We want to respect this process by not commenting any further at this time.
The owners said they had cooperated with a Western Australian police investigation and had been told by police that no charges would be laid.
“We have cooperated with the City of Stirling in their investigation,” they said. “We are most disappointed that we only came to know of the two charges being laid by the local council under the provisions of the Food Act on ABC Radio this morning.
A spokesman from WA Police told Guardian Australia they received a complaint about the brownies and conducted an investigation but “deemed there was insufficient evidence to prefer charges.”
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