Inspections launched after German complains of rotten lobster

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Pattaya health officials launched inspections of the area’s major seafood market and a popular Walking Street seafood restaurant after an elderly German man filed a police complaint about rotten lobster.

Wolfgang Hoelderirch took the remains of his lobster dinner to Pattaya Police Station July 12, complaining that the shellfish smelled and tasted bad and that the restaurant staff had refused to replace or refund his spoiled supper.

Health Department’s consumer-protection office director, Bupha Songsakulchai and staffers visited both the Lan Po Market and King Seafood and found all lobsters to be dead and packed properly in ice. No violations were cited. (Photo/Public Health Section, Pattaya City)
Health Department’s consumer-protection office director, Bupha Songsakulchai and staffers visited both the Lan Po Market and King Seafood and found all lobsters to be dead and packed properly in ice. No violations were cited. (Photo/Public Health Section, Pattaya City)

Police kept the leftovers as evidence and questioned restaurant management before turning over the matter to the Health Department’s consumer-protection office.

Office Director Bupha Songsakulchai and staffers visited both the Lan Po Market and King Seafood the following day, testing market seafood for borax, fungicides, bleaching powder, and formalin. None were found in excess of legal limits.

At King Seafood, they found all lobsters were dead and packed properly in ice. No violations were cited.

She said inspections would be done regularly and if any violations are found, vendors and restaurants would first receive a warning. Repeat violations are subject to fines of up to 20,000 baht and up to two years in jail.

King Seafood management said that it offered Hoelderirch a discount on his 1,848-baht meal, but did not refund him the full price or provide another meal because he had eaten most of the lobster before complaining.

The restaurant said the German only raised a concern after eating the legs and opening up the head, where he found the meat was black and smelled badly.

However, restaurant management said, in the future it will cook another meal for anyone that finds their dinner is not fresh and, if the problem is the restaurant’s fault, it will not charge for the meal.