The price of cutting costs in this case was fatal…Posted on: 04/07/2016
News headlines recently reported that an Indian restaurant owner received a prison term of 6 years after being convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence – it’s evident he lacked safe food delivery training, and here’s why…
In this case, a customer at an Indian restaurant had made staff aware of a peanut allergy when ordering the meal, yet despite the bill and the lid to the food container both stating ‘no nuts’ the customer was served food that did contain the deadly ingredient. Sadly, this lack of regard led to anaphylactic shock and very quickly, the customer’s death. Following investigation by the police and trading standards, not only was the groundnut mix powder found in the kitchen, but it was found to have also contaminated other ingredients held here. Despite these findings, the restaurant still claimed to serve nut free curry.
The justification given by the restaurant owner was that of cost. Almond powder had been substituted for a cheaper groundnut mix…which contained peanuts. The prosecution alleged that the owner’s £300,000 debt had made him cut costs at every opportunity and hire untrained and illegal staff, despite receiving numerous warnings that he was putting his customer’s health at risk.
Sadly, this was not the first time a customer had experienced an allergic reaction in one of the restaurant owner’s eateries. Only 3 weeks earlier, in another of the owner’s six restaurants, a different customer suffered an allergic reaction, which resulted in hospital treatment.
We cannot hide from the fact that the restaurant owner, in this case, has shown a clear disregard for allergies and shown a distinct lack of training and direction on the delivery of safe food. With a few simple steps, food businesses can ensure that the food they serve is safe. Keeping recipe ingredients lists up to date, communicating on labels and menus, separate equipment, utensils and preparation areas, effective storage procedures, using reputable suppliers and staff training all make strides towards protecting the customer, and avoid hefty fines or even a prison sentence.
For more information or guidance on the delivery of safe food, please do get in touch.