Guilty plea by restaurant which caused anaphylactic shock

A restaurant which served a customer with an ingredient to which they were allergic, has pleaded guilty at York Crown Court which today (16 November 2018) ordered it to pay a total £10,721.

On  9 February 2018, the Garden of India served a customer with a severe pepper (capsicum) allergy, an onion bhajii.

The customer checked twice when ordering and was told by an employee that there were no peppers in the bhajii. But it did, in fact, contain green pepper.

The customer only realised this when she had eaten the food and began to go into anaphylactic shock.

On 24 September 2018, Garden of India (York) Ltd and its director Mr Shahin Miah (aged 46 of Colwyn Road, Leeds) pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety Act 1990.

In mitigation, the business said it has been running for 26 years and this is only their second time in court, it’s willing to take advice and has improved a number of procedures already.

Today, York Crown Court imposed a £3,334 fine for the company, a £1,800 fine for Mr Miah and £5,587.66 costs.

Cllr Andrew Waller, deputy leader of City of York Council and executive member for environment, said: “This is a concerning case which illustrates the absolute need for businesses to recognise and act on the importance of food allergens, customers’ health and the law.

“Food businesses have a legal and moral responsibility to control allergen risks by knowing what’s in the food they serve, by avoiding cross contamination and training staff.”

Cllr Jenny Brooks, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “Customer confidence in the city’s food premises is so important and, while this is a very rare case for York, complying with the law around food allergies is crucial.

“We give advice which, if not complied with, can lead to legal action and we welcome customers reporting concerns to public.protection@york.gov.uk.”

Advice on food safety and standards is available at www.york.gov.uk/FoodSafetyStandards or, any businesses wanting tailored advice and guidance, are welcome to call us on (01904) 551525.

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