How safe is your menu? Restaurateur jailed for 6 years

Cutting corners costs lives.

Last month the UK has seen a historic court case which has led to a jail sentence awarded for the first time for ignoring allergen legislation and food safety practices.  It is regarded as a legal first which sets a precedent for those who provide food to the end customer.


Jail sentence related to death of customer with allergic reaction
Restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman received a 6 year manslaughter jail sentence for gross negligence and food safety offences after substituting a safer almond powder for a cheaper one which contained peanuts and failed to communicate this allergen in his recipes.


2016.06 peanut death

Lack of communication and training

Despite receiving several warnings, Zaman failed to address his actions which led to anaphylactic shock and subsequent death to customer Paul Wilson.  Not only did Zamman cut corners, but he failed to communicate this ingredient change to staff, even after his supplier highlighted the need to do so.  In addition he also failed to provide training on the EU allergen legislation to his employees.

The incident with Paul Wilson followed just three weeks after another customer needed hospital treatment, again after being assured that her meal would not contain any nuts.

Unfortunately information relating to allergens is not always correct at the time of serving customers, and it is not just peanuts and tree nuts which can cause anaphylaxis, it should be noted that milk, eggs and crustaceans can also cause a severe fatal reaction of anaphylaxis.

Its not just about peanuts and nuts

A YouGov survey from 2014 found that 12% of UK households suffer from a milk allergy or intolerance compared to 5% of UK households having a peanut allergy.   Peanuts have a higher profile causing many of the reported deaths,  that have occurred over the years, however there have been fatalities linked to milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

training strip

Whats actually happening in the real world

I have seen many posts on social media where restaurants are very flippant when information on their allergy charts is incorrect, statements like “we don’t use the charts anyway”  or “We are waiting for head office to update our sheets” with very little urgency taken to ensure the information supplied or  given is correct.

How many deaths have there been  relating to allergens!  remember those across the globe who have died from an allergic reaction since 1986, some reactions are unknown, and predominantly peanuts are the cause but there is also a number caused by milk, eggs and even bananas – so please when someone tells you they have an allergy to one of the 14 major allergens or to some obscure food item, please take them seriously – make them aware of contains and may contains – Check out their site here for more awareness on foods which can cause a fatal reaction


We certainly do not want to see another tragedy taking place where a family has to suffer the loss of a loved one, and no food service manager or owner wants to stand up in court facing prosecution.

What do you need to do?

So we ask you,

  • Have you reviewed your menu and their contents in the last 3 months?
  • Are you taking food allergy training seriously?
  • Are you training your staff in line with their role?
  • Do you ensure your managers have the correct information and training to enable them to represent your venue safely?

At the end of the day the bucks stops with those  in a position of responsibility!

Are you confident that this won’t happen to you? Have you audited your menu, communication protocols and kitchen management systems to avoid this happening to you?

We offer a FREE 15 minute consultation CALL US TODAY  on 07732637292 to see how we can help!

Changes are on the way to gluten free labelling…..

Those who supply a specific gluten free or NGCI menus need to understand they are giving a factual statement as to the contents on their menu’s are you sure that details are updated when ingredients are replaced? Can you or your staff identify the other 13 major allergens on the menu?

The term NGCI will no longer be applicable after the 20 July 2016 – we will be sending an update out soon to ensure you are compliant with current regulations, if you need information in the meantime please contact me to discuss further.


Food Allergy Aware Ltd offers specialist comprehensive allergy awareness and food safety training, auditing and consultancy services.  Call us today to see how we can help you.

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