Breaches in food safety legislation seem to be a regular feature in the news lately, recent cases have included at least 2 fatalities, hospitalisation of customers due to allergic reactions, and numerous failings uncovered during EHO inspections. The implementation of the sentencing guidance last year has meant record fines have been issued and prison sentences handed out.
Recently there has been news of another curry house receiving fines for failing to comply with allergen regulations. Eastern Style Tandoori restaurant and take away, Moreton was fined £32000 and £3,500 costs by Wirral magistrates.
During the court proceedings, the magistrate heard how two test purchases of curry were made from the takeaway. On both occasions, the court heard, the food was ordered ‘without peanuts’ and on both occasions, peanuts were present. In addition concerns were also raised regarding evidence of cross contamination and poor food safety standards.
The court heard that the case was very serious, and Miah would have been jailed if he hadn’t listened to the authorities and reacted properly to concerns.
The importance of the understanding of allergen awareness and compliance with food safety law cannot be understated and comes on the back of the case reported in 2016, where Mohammed Zaman, owner of the Indian Garden restaurant in Easingwold, was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. This followed the death of a patron who had consumed a curry containing nut powder despite making the restaurant aware of the nut allergy.
With legislation regarding management of allergens now firmly embedded in food safety law, there is no excuse for food business owners not to manage this aspect of their operation.
The risk of possible allergic reactions and fatalities can be avoided if basic food safety fundamentals are put in place.
- Ensure that company recipes and menus are updated to reflect changes in ingredient content.
- Up to date information pertaining to allergen content of foods sold/served in the food establishment must be readily available for patrons. Menus and/or display boards can be used for this purpose.
- Members of the kitchen team and front of house must also be knowledgeable of the allergen content of food. The provision and use of an up to date allergen matrix cannot be understated.
For further advice, training or assistance, do not hesitate to contact CSC.