A restaurant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, has been prosecuted by Cheshire West and Chester Council after a customer with a nut allergy suffered a severe allergic reaction to eating macarons.
Haute Dolci Cheshire Oaks owners HD Coliseum Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Food Safety Act and were ordered to pay £2,000, plus £945 court costs and a £190 victim surcharge. A total of £500 compensation must also be paid by the company to the customer within 28 days.
On Friday last week (12 November) Chester Magistrates Court heard how the restaurant had served three macarons to a woman who had a severe nut allergy. Amy Taylor visited the restaurant on September 11, 2020, with her family but due to Covid regulations at the time, the family placed their order through an app whilst sat at a table. Mrs Taylor did ask a waitress if the macarons contained nuts and if they were prepared away from nuts and was told the food was nut-free.
After consuming the macarons, Mrs Taylor began to experience symptoms of an allergic reaction and the family left the restaurant, but Mrs Taylor collapsed on the way to the car. She recovered but did not go to hospital.
The incident was reported to the council’s food team, which investigated and spoke to the manager on duty that day. The waitress involved received a formal written warning as she had not consulted with management or referred to the company’s allergen sheet. All staff were also retrained.
District Judge Nicholas Sanders said in court:
“It is quite clear that the company fell short of the standards people expect when they enquire about allergies.
“The company has accepted guilt throughout.
“With all nut allergies there is a real risk of serious harm, even death in some sad cases.”
This prosecution highlights the importance of allergy awareness and allergy safety training amongst all staff at food establishments. The outcome for Mrs Taylor could have been far worse and we are pleased to hear she has recovered and that the restaurant has been prosecuted.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign would also like to reiterate the following advice on what to do you if you believe you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction:
The Anaphylaxis Campaign has several free AllergyWise courses for individuals, families and schools for training on severe allergies.