Hednesford takeaway owner prosecuted for serving unsafe food to allergic customer

Hednesford takeaway owner prosecuted for serving unsafe food to allergic customer

  • 24 June 2020
  • News

Limited company Rosehill Nites Limited?, operators of Rosehill Balti of Pye Green, Cannock, Staffordshire, was fined £3000 and ordered to pay £250, after it sold food which contained peanuts to a customer with a nut allergy.

The customer, Tony Locke, suffered a severe allergic reaction to the dish, which had been described as being free from nuts and peanuts.

The takeaway owner, Mr Mohammed Badrul Islam, pleaded guilty to offences relating to the provision of unsafe food on two separate occasions at a court hearing last December. Mr Islam was sentenced to a 20 week suspended sentence, ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay the victim £1000 compensation as well as a £115 victim surcharge.

The hearing, which was originally due to take place on 16 April but was rescheduled ?due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was heard at Stafford Crown Court on Thursday 18 June.

According to the Staffordshire County Council website, on 8 February, 2019, Mr Locke from Hednesford, ordered a Modhu Minty Lamb Aloo from the business and had explained that he had a nut allergy. After returning home and eating two forkfuls of the dish, Mr Locke suffered a severe allergic reaction and ended up in hospital.

The case was reported to Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service who made a test purchase of the same meal on 13 March 2019. Following testing by a specialist team, the curry powder used in the dish was found to contain nut powder.

Mr Islam told the court that he did not know that the curry powder contained nuts and expressed regret and remorse that Mr Locke suffered an allergic reaction that necessitated the need for him to attend hospital.

This case highlights the importance of food businesses checking the ingredients in the products used in the food and drink they provide. Different ingredients, dishes and products may contain ?unexpected allergens, and ingredients and recipes can change. Food businesses must ALWAYS thoroughly check ingredient labels ?of all the products that they use in order to give customers the correct information.

Lynne Regent, CEO of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, says:

“We are saddened to hear of Mr Locke’s serious reaction and are pleased to see that action has been taken by Staffordshire County Council and that the food business involved has accepted responsibility. The importance of understanding allergy safety and how to provide allergen information correctly is imperative to the running of all food businesses. As a charity that supports people at risk of severe allergic reactions and anaphylaxis, we can provide guidance to food businesses on how they can ensure the safety of customers with allergies.”

In the UK, food businesses must provide information about any of the 14 allergens when used as ingredients in the food or drink they provide. There is more information about what these allergens are and how food businesses can provide this information here.