Chester restaurant fined for food safety allergen offence

10 November 2020

A Chester restaurant has been fined for a food safety offence after a customer was served food containing an allergen.

Oddfellows of 20 Lower Bridge Street in Chester were charged with a Food Safety offence under Article 14 of the Food Safety Act 1990. (Selling food not of the nature or substance or quality demanded.)

In Chester Magistrates Court on 30 September 2020 Oddfellows Rooms Ltd pleaded guilty and on 6 November 2020 were sentenced to a £2000 fine, a £500 compensation order to the complainant, a £170 victim surcharge and ordered to pay costs of £1704.

On 4 April 2019 Regulatory Services officers visited to investigate a complaint of a customer suffering a severe allergic reaction following the consumption of a sandwich served as part of an afternoon tea on the 30 March 2019. This was despite the venue being made aware the customer had food allergies including sesame. The customer had to attend the Countess of Chester hospital for urgent treatment involving being given adrenalin, put on an IV drip and given anti histamines twice.

The Company acknowledge their mistake but officers discovered a lack of allergen control in the documented food safety management document. All the finger sandwiches included in the afternoon tea, had been grouped together regardless of the different types of fillings.

District Judge Sanders commented that trading conditions are currently appalling for everyone. The judge also took note of the financial impact of lockdowns for the company. However, he remarked ‘that putting hummus in a sandwich of person allergic to it, is serious.’

The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said: “The sentence demonstrates the need for all food businesses to have robust well-documented procedures for allergen control. Customers need accurate information about the ingredients in each food so that they can identify allergens and make informed decisions. In this way it is clear what specific food item would be suitable for any customer with dietary requirements.

“All food businesses have a duty to serve food that is safe, the sentence sends a clear and strong message that the courts will treat such situations seriously.  Food businesses that do not comply with the regulations and put the general public at risk will not be tolerated. Thankfully the majority of businesses operating in Cheshire West and Chester do so to a high level of compliance.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council operate a paid for advisory service for all food businesses called the ‘GET5’ scheme.  Call 01244 973486 for more information or see the Council’s website.

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