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Allergen Manslaughter Charge

May 10, 2016 | biocare

The owner of a takeaway restaurant has been officially charged with manslaughter following the death of one of its customers.

The adult customer died following a severe anaphylactic reaction to peanuts contained in the meal he purchased from the takeaway. This is the first case of its kind and given an estimated 1-5% of the world population have a clinically proven diagnosed food allergy it is expected more cases will come before the courts.

The law governing food allergens which came into force in December 2014 requires pre-packed and loose food to be clearly labelled regarding the presence of one or more of the fourteen prescribed named allergens. It is the responsibility of food manufacturers, suppliers, caters and food retailers to ensure all reasonable measures are taken to inform consumers regarding the presence of allergens in food. Failure to act responsibly could result in catastrophic consequences for consumers and food businesses alike.

(Ref. FSA May 2016)


As outlined in the December issue of FSA Times a food business operator is entitled to enter a due diligence defence in such cases. Such a defence is based on demonstrating the food business operator took reasonable steps to communicate to consumers the possible presence of prescribed allergens in food purchased or consumed in their premises.