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.
According to a report by the ABC the family bought the brownie while having breakfast at Bada Bing cafe in Perth in March, then had to take their five-year-old daughter to hospital because she was having hallucinations.
Both she and her mother, who shared the brownie, allegedly tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.
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.
“As this matter is not yet before the courts, the city is unable to go into further detail. However we can assure our residents and the community that we have done a thorough investigation.
“This appears to be an isolated incident and the city believes it has addressed any potential risk to the community.”
The matter is listed before the Perth magistrates court on 19 July.
The cafe has received a number of media calls since the ABC reported the story on Tuesday, including from Guardian Australia.
In a statement sent via their lawyers, the proprietors said they were still conducting their own investigations about the allegation.
“It came as a total shock to us that a Perth family is alleging that they became ill after eating at our cafe,” they said.
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.
“Neither our lawyer nor we have been served with any papers to date.”
Guardian Australia asked WA police to confirm the status of their investigation but did not receive a response.