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A Cambridge hotel has been ordered to pay £4,400 for supplying food containing nuts to a customer known to be allergic to the ingredient, who subsequently went into anaphylactic shock.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards brought the case against the Arundel House Hotel after a complaint that the customer had suffered an allergic reaction to a pasta dish containing nuts and peanuts while attending a family birthday.

Hotel staff were aware two people had a severe nut allergy. This information had been recorded on the booking sheet but not effectively communicated to all the kitchen staff, one of which prepared a pasta dish in the normal way which included nuts and peanuts.

After realising they had consumed nuts the victim felt unwell and was sick. Their symptoms worsened and after using their Epi-pen they were taken to hospital where they were treated for anaphylaxis.

On investigating the complaint Trading Standards officers found that despite knowing there was an allergy suffer attending the allergen information sheet in the kitchen was not up-to-date and that the systems for communicating allergens to the kitchen was inadequate.

The seriousness of the incident and the poor controls at the time led Trading Standards to put this matter before the court under the Food Safety (England) Regulations 2013, for selling unsafe food.

The District Judge agreed that this was a serious case but recognised the corrective action, cooperation and early guilty plea made by the business. The court ordered the company to pay £1,500 fine, £2,000 towards the investigation costs, £150 victim surcharge and £750 in compensation to the victim

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Head of Regulatory Services Peter Gell said: “We’re pleased with this result, but are disappointed that many businesses are still not controlling allergens safely. After a number of high profile cases nationally where people have died we are still finding problems.

“The hotel co-operated fully with our Trading Standards service and their own investigation had already led to a range of improvements; but these could have been identified and put into action before a customer was hospitalised.”

The hotel had pleaded guilty to supplying unsafe food at an earlier hearing at Peterborough Magistrates Court.


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