Top French chef fobs off lamp oil as olive oil

20th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France, Oct 19 (AFP) - A top French chef at a Michelin two-star restaurant was judged guilty of fraud Wednesday for selling a blend of cheap Spanish olive oil and lamp oil under a label claiming the mixture came from a famous olive-growing region in France.

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France, Oct 19 (AFP) - A top French chef at a Michelin two-star restaurant was judged guilty of fraud Wednesday for selling a blend of cheap Spanish olive oil and lamp oil under a label claiming the mixture came from a famous olive-growing region in France.

Jean-Andre Charial, owner and head chef of the prestigious Oustau de Baumaniere hotel-restaurant in Baux-de-Provence in southern France, was fined 15,000 euros by an appeals court.

The well-known chef purchased the inferior oil in Spain at 7.55 euros a litre, and -- after repackaged it as an "extra virgin" olive oil from Baux-en-Provence -- sold it to unsuspected patrons and tourists at nearly five times the price.

Even worse, a sample examined by government inspectors revealed that the bottles sold contained an unspecified quantity of lamp oil, which is unfit for human consumption.

Charial was acquitted from a charge of false advertising in an early proceeding in July 2004, but prosecutors appealed the decision, seeking a penalty fine of 37,000 euros.

Besides the two-star restaurant, Charial also runs a four-star hotel.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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