The recent death of Owen Carey, 18, from anaphylaxis after eating out on a trip to London brings home the real threat eating out can be if you have a severe food allergy. Owen Carey’s case is currently being investigated by the local authorities and we will keep you updated.
Eating out with a food allergy can be a challenge, but there are lots of tips you can follow to help keep safe. These can be found here, or on this infographic
If however you do suffer a reaction to a food that should have been safe, there are steps you can take to get the incident investigated:
- Prepare a report of the incident, starting with the decision to order the food. How did you choose your meal? If it was online, have you got the actual menu? Did you mention your allergy? To whom and when? What was said to you and by whom? How did you know what was in the meal?
- Prepare a statement of all the decisions and events which took place in order, ideally with some idea of the timings. If you have a sample of the food left, double wrap it carefully in clean plastic bags / cling film, label it and freeze it for now.
- If a friend or family member was present / involved, ask them to make a note of their own recollection of what happened. You should add a record of what exactly you ate / where and when? This should include details of symptoms in order, timings, emergency management, treatment etc.
Criminal legislation is enforced through local enforcement authorities, so you can report the reaction to your local council food safety or food standards (Environmental Health or Trading Standards) team. You can find details via your local council website here.
The restaurant/takeaway may have broken criminal law about selling safe food, or misdescribing it. If you have a sample of the food that caused your reaction, they may be able to take it as evidence and get it tested to see if it contained your problem allergen.