Owner of Indian takeaway guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence – sentenced to 6 years in prison

In this case a customer died as a result of suffering a severe anaphylactic shock after eating his takeaway meal of chicken tikka masala.  It is a requirement for food business operators to provide information to customers if any of the foods or ingredients in the preparation of the food they supply contains allergens from a prescribed list, serving food containing allergens to an unsuspecting allergy sufferer can have very serious consequences.

The court heard that the owner of the takeaway run up a large sum of debts in his restaurants and was substituting ingredients for cheaper alternatives, in this case it almond powder had been switched for a cheaper groundnut mix, which contained peanuts.  The customer had given a “no nuts” instruction which was written on his order and on the lid of his takeaway container, yet he was served a product containing peanuts.

The owner of the Indian takeaway has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence along with six other food safety offences.  He has been sentenced to 6 years in prison.

The case acts as a reminder to all food business operators of the need to ensure that all allergen information is accurate and available in respect of food they supply.  It also acts as a reminder to ensure that staff are appropriately trained in allergen awareness and food hygiene, and that all documented food safety procedures are up to date and operational, and whilst in this case, there appears to have been a deliberate substitution of ingredients, it is nevertheless worth checking your cross contamination control measures are appropriate and all staff are trained and aware of cross contamination controls.