Prosecution case: Hertfordshire restaurant fined after customer suffered severe allergic reaction

Prosecution case: Hertfordshire restaurant fined after customer suffered severe allergic reaction

  • 16 December 2019
  • News

The Artichoke, Croxley Green, has been fined £23,000 after being prosecuted by Hertfordshire Trading Standards when one of its customers became seriously ill.

Hertfordshire County Council said KOB (The Artichoke) Ltd pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 and Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Monday 9 December.

As well as a fine, the company was also ordered to a pay a victim surcharge of £170 and make a payment of £1,920 Trading Standards costs.

Ruth Holroyd had been eating a Christmas meal with work colleagues at the pub on 28 November 2018 when she was served a starter containing milk, despite pre-warning staff of her severe dairy and other allergies.

According to the Council’s website, Ruth’s dietary requirements had been made known to The Artichoke pub on at least three occasion, but the pub admitted there had been a breakdown in communication between the front of house and the kitchen.

As a result, Ruth spent a night in Watford General Hospital after suffering anaphylaxis and was kept in intensive care on oxygen.

In court the company, through their legal representative, said they accepted they were vicariously responsible for the actions of their staff and were regretful and remorseful for what had happened.

The Anaphylaxis Campaign would like to add that this prosecution highlights how vital it is that all staff at food establishments are aware of the severity of allergies and are given the proper training in relation to food allergy safety. It is extremely disappointing to hear that Ruth’s warnings were not taken seriously at the time and we are pleased with the outcome of this prosecution trial.

Ruth Holroyd has also commented on the trial:

“I was really pleased with the outcome because there does need to be more awareness and urgency from all food service companies to grasp the importance of effective allergen training for all staff and also processes in place to ensure there are many opportunities to log, understand and act upon any allergen food requests.

“I think there are far more near misses and people being made ill after eating out that do not get any press coverage or go unreported.  We all have a responsibility to take whatever precautions we can to stay safe, but we also need to be telling restaurants when things don’t go well so that we can all learn and become better and managing allergens.

“I know The Artichoke have taken this very seriously and now have training and better processes in place.”