A cautionary tale - The first criminal prosecution due to food allergen exposure
By Kevin Moyse
A cautionary tale.
Cheap Takeaway Menus creates and produces professional takeaway menus, using outstanding takeaway menu design and cheap menu printing. Our takeaway menu design team and our menu printers work hard to produce your takeaway menus. We do this because we care about your takeaway business. We provide you with high quality takeaway menus which are cheap and effective because if we can help one part of your takeaway increase the success and efficiency of the whole business, then you can concentrate on your customers and your food.
We know how much work you have put in and continue to put in to make your takeaway a successful business. We know running a takeaway business is more complicated than people think. We know you want to give your customers great food and great service, so we would never preach. However, following last month’s article on cheaptakeawaymenus.com outlining new government rules and regulations on food allergy information (link to last month’s article), a story appeared in the news. This story highlights the dangers of not complying with these regulations now that they have become stricter.
Mere months before the new and tighter rules were introduced in December 2014, a customer bought a takeaway curry from The Indian Garden restaurant and takeaway in Easingwold, North Yorkshire.
Paul Wilson, a successful and well-liked bar manager from Thirsk, apparently informed the staff at The Indian Garden of his allergy and requested that his meal be nut-free. However, Paul was later found collapsed on his bathroom floor and was unable to be revived by paramedics. He had suffered anaphylactic shock caused by eating the curry, which had indeed contained nuts.
Now in the first case of its kind, the owner of the restaurant, Mohammed Khalique Zaman, has been charged with manslaughter by gross negligence and recently made his first appearance in court. He has also been summonsed regarding numerous other offences under the Food Safety Act.
Zaman is the owner of a string of successful and award-winning restaurants and takeaways across Yorkshire.
We all work hard to be successful, but when cutting corners or lack of diligence can result in someone’s death and someone else’s possible imprisonment, what price success?
There are on average about ten deaths per year in the UK which can be attributed to food allergies. If any one of them can be avoided by good practice and effective communication they should be. The new guidelines put in place in December require food businesses to provide allergy information on all unpackaged food. All restaurants and takeaways must inform customers if their food contains even traces of the top 14 food allergens.
These are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and cereals containing gluten, eggs, crustaceans, molluscs, fish, soya, sesame, sulphur dioxide/sulphites, celery, mustard and lupin.
Cheap Takeaway Menus has always taken food allergies into account. Our menus all contain the following information: ‘for full allergy information please contact us before ordering’. This is simple information is currently adequate for takeaways and follows the law. But this information MUST be available upon request.
Take a look at last month’s article about the "Food Allergy information - the new allergy rules and regulations" for more detail.
Takeaways and restaurants shouldn’t be dangerous places for either staff or customers. When you look at the case of Paul Wilson or teenager Shahida Shahid from Manchester who died following an allergic reaction to a chicken dish she’d been assured was safe, you can see the sense in these new regulations.
Allergy sufferers are all too aware of what they can or can’t, should or shouldn’t eat. All they require is the correct information provided to them by you. These new regulations bring that request to your attention.
They are relatively new, but soon they will be thought of as normal. Factor them into your thinking and they will become second nature to you.
You know your business. We’re here to help. You’re our customers, we want to provide you with a great service.