Disregard for Allergens Leads to Manslaughter Conviction

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Nov 16, 2018

Careless disregard for food allergens led to a 15-year-old girl's death in England and manslaughter convictions for two employees of an Indian restaurant. The employees were sentenced to jail earlier this month.

Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died in early 2017 from an asthma attack after she ate food from the Royal Spice takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, according to BirminghamLive.

The teenager and her friend ordered takeout online and indicated allergies to prawns and nuts in the order. However, the delivered meal was later found to have the "widespread presence" of peanut protein, according to BirminghamLive.

The girl was hospitalized and within two days died from asthma due to nut allergy.

Last month a jury found restaurant owner Mohammed Abdul Kuddus and manager Harun Rashid guilty of killing Lee by reason of gross negligence. Kuddus admitted guilt and was sentenced on Nov. 7 to two years in prison. Rashid also was found guilty of food safety violations, and he was given three years.

"Although it shouldn’t take a death for food facilities to take another, more in-depth, look at its allergen programs, the teen’s family hopes that this will serve as a warning to other food businesses who urged all food businesses to improve the standard of food safety and to take allergies seriously," wrote David Acheson, CEO of the Acheson Group (www.achesongroup.com), a former FDA associate commissioner for food and a frequent contributor to Food Processing. "I, too, urge all food facilities and providers to take it as a warning, as a jolt to examine your allergen control programs."