On Tuesday 26 September we held our 3rd Mock Trial Food Allergy Prosecution. With over 110 in the room from the attendees, exhibitors, and speakers the day was an action-packed day with lots of takeaways.
Our Chair for the day Sterling Crew who opened the event preparing the audience on what was expected of them as jurors for the day and in the current climate where the food service sector is struggling with everyday costs, the importance of food safety and allergen management training, which can often be sidelined.
The messaging conveyed via attendee feedback is this type of real-life scenario training is beneficial to ensure the safety of the FHS customer and to protect their staff going forward.
Opening Speaker at the Mock Trial
The event was opened by Ruth Holroyd with her powerfully emotive witness impact statement, which our chair for the day Sterling Crew stated left many moved by story of Ruth’s journey and anxieties she experiences when eating out of the home
The Main Event – Mock Trial
The Mock Trial scenario was based around a family with dietary requirements who stayed at a hotel for a family wedding. On consultation with the hotel, they decided to make a weekend of the occasion. However, when dining on the first evening they encountered issues, and reported them to the manager on duty. This should have been an opportunity for the venue to log a Near Miss and communicate across the business and prevent further issues. Unfortunately, the feedback was not shared across other departments in the venue and similar issue occurred the next day at the wedding, culminating in an anaphylaxis reaction occurring and a member of the family having adrenalin administered and a visit to hospital to recover.
On the day of the event the charges against the director were dropped, and the proceedings were concentrated on the charges against the company.
- Charge 1: Company: labelling/description failure
- Charge 2: Company: unsafe food supply
- Charge 3: Company: general management failure, failure to have records and monitor near miss.
To read the full Mock Trial Scenario please click here
Tom Walker acting for the prosecution opened the Trial with an overview of the case, presenting the evidence and witness statements to enable the attendees to get the full picture in preparation for the sentencing.
Stuart Jessop was acting as the defence barrister. On the day of the trial the client pleaded guilty, and then highlighted the mitigating circumstances and the due diligence of their hotel to understand what sentencing could be handed down in line with current Health & safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety Offences Definitive Guidelines for sentencing. David Travers KC the judge overseeing the proceeding was quick to point out and ask for further detail for any points raised by Stuart in the defence of the hotel.
During the summary of the event Tom Walker, Barrister of Blake Morgan LLP stated “that FBO’s would be viewed more favorable if they have good food safety processes which are monitored and updated following near misses and issues rather than a shiny policy which sits on the shelf!”
Great interactive session. The seating plan was great as I met lots of interesting people. Mock trial was a good refresher of the court room environment. I hope that fines do increase which will get Companies to focus on Allergen Management! process Senior Safety Consultant
Exhibitors & Sponsors at the Mock Trial
We would like to say a big thank you to High Speed Training our headline sponsor and all those businesses who attended on the day and those who also provide goodies for refreshment breaks, lunch and drinks reception sponsored by Gough Square Chambers, without whom the event would not have been the great success it was. To view the full list of sponsors who supported the event on the day please click here
Presentations at the Mock Trial
The morning session was comprised of a mix of speakers with a FreeFrom theme which set up the day in preparation for the trial. Belinda Stuart-Moonlight gave her assessment of the Celia Marsh Inquest and covered what went wrong! Belindas in-depth review of the catalogue of errors within the Pret / Coyo /planet coconut supply chain which led to the tragic death of Celia Marsh, and the lessons learnt going forward. Next up was Iain Ferris Food Law lecturer at University of Birmingham. Iain gave an overview of the current laws which affect food safety and allergen management and prosecution, and which failures of food safety management are covered within the specific legislation. Iain also covered disclaimer statements and where they stand within FBO and the law.
We heard from Rose Pickering of Wakefield Council who have developed a FREE AllergyPal toolbox to help FBO’s understand when they should and should not use Precautionary Allergen Labelling. Click here to use the AllergyPAL toolbox.
Ben Rayner leads the Food Standards Agency’s [FSA] Food Hypersensitivity (FHS) Strategy and Policy Unit. Ben covered what the FSA are doing to keep the FHS customer safe, looking at changes to Precautionary Allergy Labelling [PAL], and the improvement of the provision of accurate information for the consumer, linked to the possible introduction of Owen’s Law which Owen’s family are campaigning for.
We also heard from Cressida Langlands from the FreeFrom Food Awards who offered stats on the FreeFrom market and spoke about the increase in products available and the growth of the market share for those who provide for the Food Hypersensitive customer.
Dominic Teague, Executive Chef from One Aldwych spoke about his journey of converting the Indigo restaurant into a FreeFrom haven, the benefits that they have seen include a 30% increase in ROI for the business which is also reflected across other departments with increased room and spa bookings. He stated they were receiving large party bookings for special occasions, which in London can be a tough market to enter.
Dominic’s talk received an 82% excellent grade, which was innovative and spoke volumes of the feedback he receives, when guests repeatedly ask to speak to him or his team members after dining at the hotel.
Finally Jacqui McPeake and Caroline Benjamin presented their findings on the Near Miss Campaign Report and the importance of Near Miss Reporting to prevent an accident or fatality from occurring in the workplace.
FBOs need to learn from potential mistakes, monitor occurrences and review their processes on a regular basis to ensure the safety of ALL guests and protect their staff and business from prosecution as highlighted in the Mock Trial scenario.
The Near Miss Report is available to download by clicking here.
If you would like to have a similar Mock Trial event for your food business please contact Food Allergy Aware by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07732637292
Finally… What did the attendees say?