Oddfellows restaurant in Chester has been ordered to pay over £4300 after a customer was hospitalised for a “severe” reaction to the hummus they consumed at the venue, despite making severs aware they were allergic to the food.
On 4 April 2019 Regulatory Services officers visited to investigate a complaint of a customer suffering a severe allergic reaction following the consumption of a sandwich served as part of an afternoon tea on the 30 March 2019.
It was reported the venue had been made aware the customer had food allergies including sesame. The customer had to attend the Countess of Chester hospital for urgent treatment involving being given adrenalin, put on an IV drip and given antihistamines twice.
In court, District Judge Sanders commented that trading conditions for restaurants are “currently appalling” for everyone. The judge also took note of the financial impact of lockdowns for the company. However, he remarked “that putting hummus in a sandwich of a person allergic to it is serious.”
In Chester Magistrates Court on 30 September 2020 Oddfellows Rooms Ltd pleaded guilty and on 6 November 2020 were sentenced to a £2000 fine, a £500 compensation order to the complainant, a £170 victim surcharge and ordered to pay costs of £1704.
The Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, councillor Karen Shore, said: “The sentence demonstrates the need for all food businesses to have robust well-documented procedures for allergen control.
Customers need accurate information about the ingredients in each food so that they can identify allergens and make informed decisions. In this way it is clear what specific food item would be suitable for any customer with dietary requirements.”
She added: “All food businesses have a duty to serve food that is safe, the sentence sends a clear and strong message that the courts will treat such situations seriously.
“Food businesses that do not comply with the regulations and put the general public at risk will not be tolerated. Thankfully the majority of businesses operating in Cheshire West and Chester do so to a high level of compliance.”
Catering today has contacted Oddfellows for a comment