Takeaway owner puts allergy sufferer’s life at risk

Monday, 29th June 2020

A STAFFORDSHIRE takeaway owner has been sentenced to a 20-week suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid community work for breaching food safety laws.

The limited company running the business was also fined £3000 and was ordered to pay £250 costs.

55-year-old Mohammed Badrul Islam of 187 Broadway, Walsall, is the owner of Rosehill Balti and Takeaway, in Hednesford. He was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on Thursday 18 June for offences relating to selling food that contained peanuts which was described as being free from nuts and peanuts.

The court heard that on 8 February 2019, Mr Tony Locke from Hednesford, ordered a Modhu Minty Lamb Aloo from the business. The 41-year-old explained that he had a nut allergy and the dish could not have nuts in it.

However, after returning home with the meal and after having just 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 in the dish was found to have nut powder in it.

Mr Islam told the court he did not know that the curry powder that was being used as part of the ingredients for the dish sold to Mr Locke contained nuts.  Nuts were not an ingredient that he expected or knew to be present in the curry powder.

He accepted that it was his responsibility to ensure that a nut-free dish was exactly that.  He also expressed regret and remorse that Mr Locke suffered an allergic reaction that necessitated the need for him to attend hospital.

The Court ordered Mr Islam to pay Mr Locke £1000 in compensation as well as to pay a £115 victim surcharge

Trading Standards officers took this picture in the kitchen at Rosehill Balti and Takeaway

Trading Standards officers took this picture in the kitchen at Rosehill Balti and Takeaway

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said: “Food allergies are a growing concern and can be life-threatening, and is something that our teams are taking very seriously.”

In the UK, food businesses must tell the customer if they use any of the 14 key allergens as ingredients in the food and drink they provide. If people eat out or order a takeaway meal, the food business must provide allergen information in writing. This could be on a menu or a written signpost explaining how to obtain the information, for example by speaking to a member of staff.

Gill added: “We work with food businesses right across the county to remind them of their responsibilities and importance of clearly labelled ingredients on food products and menus. Where this isn’t the case we will take appropriate action as in this case.

“Unfortunately, we’ve now had several incidents in Staffordshire where people have ended up in hospital as a result of being served food that has given them a severe reaction. Our job is to help keep people safe and if people choose a food outlet and are in any doubt about what’s in their food, they should walk out.”

Mr Islam pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier court hearing on 2 December 2019.