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Former restaurant owner fined after boy suffered allergic reaction

30 July 2018 by
Former restaurant owner fined after boy suffered allergic reaction

A former restaurant owner has been ordered to pay more than £2,000 after a four-year-old boy was served a dessert containing nuts, despite his mother informing staff of his allergies.

Stephen Nock was managing director of Bright Ideas Studio, which owned Seasons restaurant, in Eastbourne, east Sussex, at the time of the incident in May 2017.

He admitted breaches to the Food Safety Act during a court hearing on 20 July and was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay costs of £959.

Lewes Crown Court had heard that the youngster's mother had told staff her son was allergic to nuts and had received assurances that an ice-cream dish would be safe to order.

However the ice-cream was served with a chocolate hazelnut wafer, which triggered an allergic reaction resulting in an eight-hour hospital stay.

The mother, who had to administer an epipen as she believed her son was going into anaphylactic shock, said she was particularly concerned with the response from staff.

An investigation by East Sussex Trading Standards found the restaurant's menu did not specify that ice-cream came with a wafer, or that it contained nuts, despite the fact it had been served in this way for some time.

Meanwhile, the company's allergen folder did not mention the presence on the menu of a wafer containing nuts and staff training records were found to be inadequate.

Judge Christine Laing QC was satisfied that the restaurant had some procedures in place to deal with allergens, but said it had fallen short on this occasion.

The restaurant is now under new management and has no connection with the former owner.

Cllr Bill Bentley, East Sussex County Council lead member for communities and safety, said: "This case illustrates the serious responsibility owners of food premises have when it comes to food safety.

"All food businesses have a legal duty to provide customers with clear and accurate, allergy information about the food they serve and must ensure staff are properly trained and have rigorous diligence procedures in place.

"This was an extremely traumatic experience for the boy and his mother, and we can only be thankful the outcome wasn't even more serious."

Allergens: are we all still complying with the law? >>

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