A luxury spa chain has been taken to court over claims it told guests its apple crumble could help reduce the risk of cancer, and failed to warn visitors about allergens in its restaurant food.
Champneys, a chain which has counted Princess Diana, the Beckhams and Dame Judi Dench among its guests, allegedly made multiple false or misleading claims on its food menus.
It has been accused of failing to tell guests about allergens, such as gluten, mustard, eggs and soybean, in its food and selling a Vegan Tofu Pad Thai dish which contained milk.
The so-called wellness centre also allegedly told its guests, who paid up to £230 a night, that its apple crumble could cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as cancer.
Champneys, which denies all the charges, claims on its website it “steers away from all the fads and fallacies” and “keep things honest and enjoyable”.
At its Forest Mere resort in West Sussex, the company is accused of failing to inform guests it had a food hygiene rating of two out of five.
The firm was due to go on trial on Tuesday at Brighton Magistrates Court after West Sussex Country Council launched a prosecution against it on 19 charges relating to food safety, information, nutrition and consumer protection laws.
However, the case was adjourned at the last minute when neither Champneys or the county council attended the court.
Judge Amanda Kelly, said: “I’m rather annoyed by counsel not turning up for this Champneys trial. There are no words.”
If found guilty, the spa chain could face an unlimited fine.
Champneys is facing five charges of breaching nutrition and health claims laws over claims about its apple crumble.
The company faces another nine charges for failing to declare allergens on its food dishes.
However, a spokesperson for West Sussex County Council said it had come to an agreement with Champneys which would mean court proceedings would be dropped.
“The Council and the company came to an agreement as to how the various charges would be dealt with and recorded and, as a result, no trial of the charges was considered to be in the public interest,” a spokesperson said.
“The Council considers the agreement reached was a satisfactory outcome and meant that the investigation and action taken had been beneficial.”