The owners of a curry house in Tyne and Wear have been ordered to pay more than £7,500 after serving a dish containing peanuts to a teenager with a nut allergy.
Staff at Gulshan, in Tynemouth, served the meal in November 2018 after repeatedly assuring the 16-year-old and her family that it was safe to eat.
After just a few mouthfuls she began to suffer an allergic reaction, North Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard. She was taken to North Tyneside General Hospital and transferred as an emergency to Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, in Cramlington. The teenager was treated with adrenaline and was able to be discharged the following day.
Shockingly, the court heard that the girl's family were made to pay for their meal before they left the restaurant to take her for treatment.
Officers from the local authority's food safety team were informed of the girl's reaction and the remnants of the curry were taken for testing. They were found to contain a peanut protein of a level capable of causing a reaction, Ian Palmer, of North Tyneside Council, said.
Further investigations were conducted at the restaurant and inadequate food safety procedures were found, including wrongly labelled ingredients, a lack of staff training and insufficient separation of food to prevent cross-contamination.
This resulted in the food hygiene rating for Gulshan being dropped from four to one.
The owners of Gulshan, Sonero Tynemouth Ltd, have been fined £3,767 and ordered to pay £2,744 in costs and £1,000 compensation after pleading guilty to breaching section 14 (1) of the Food Safety Act 1990. Company director, Suffian Rahman, represented the business in court.
Stuart Athey, mitigating, said: "It still shocks him that this has happened. He even tells me that the family had to pay for their meal. He was shocked staff made them do this. He launched a full enquiry straightaway."
Mr Athey said the waiter who served the family and the chef had now been sacked and that Rahman had tried to reimburse the family for their meal.
The court heard that improvements had been made and that, after reinspection in April 2019, the restaurant now had a level 5 food hygiene rating.
Phil Scott, head of Environment, Housing and Leisure, at North Tyneside Council, said: "It's hugely important that people with food allergies have the confidence that regulations are being followed.
"We've all seen the media reports of the tragic deaths caused by reactions to food so these issues should be a priority for all food establishments.
"As demonstrated by this case, our team will not hesitate to prosecute where necessary but will also provide advice and support to ensure businesses are compliant."
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