Takeaway owner facing jail after allergic reaction turned customer's lips blue
A takeaway owner could be jailed after a curry lover's lips turned blue during a severe allergic reaction.
The victim's serious peanut allergy saw him rushed to hospital by his fiancée after being sold the curry that contained peanut protein at Rosehill Balti in Cannock.
He had ordered the same dish a number of times before, with no issue.
Restaurant director Mohammed Badrul Islam, aged 55 of Broadway, Walsall, admitted four charges relating to the sale of food that did not meet hygiene, safety or quality standards.
He also admitted four charges on behalf of Rosehill Nites Ltd the parent company of Rosehill Balti.
Magistrates sitting in Newcastle-under-Lyme heard that the incident began with the sale of the victim’s favourite dish, a modhu minty lamb aloo, back in February.
The victim, named as Tony, and his fiancée Rachel had made a habit out of ordering a takeaway on a Friday night and had ordered the same dish previously just weeks before from the Rosehill Balti without incident.
But in February, they picked the dish up again and were asked by the defendant if he was the customer with a nut allergy who had ordered the dish previously.
Islam then told the victim that there were no nuts in the dish apart from coconut, which set alarm bells off for the victim and his partner.
Upon arriving home they realised the dish appeared to be a different colour than before.
Lips turned blue
Prosecuting on behalf of Staffordshire County Council, Lucy Daniels said: "He had a few cautionary forkfuls of the dish, he stood up and said ‘something isn’t right’. He went to the bathroom, then fell to his knees clutching his chest."
In a statement, the victim's fiancée said: "I knew that something was wrong as Tony loves his food. I went into the bathroom and his saw him on the floor clutching his chest with his lips turning blue.
“Since then I’m very protective whenever we go out for a meal.”
In a victim impact statement Tony added: "I’ve had a couple of close encounters with death concerning wrong food. But this wasn’t going to be a quick death, more like choking on hot smoke in a burning building.
"I didn’t want to die, I was looking forward to my new life with my new fiancée. We were saving up to put a deposit down on a new home. I remember telling Rachel to put her foot down."
He said he is now extremely cautious about where he eats and only eats food prepared by trusted chefs. The couple don’t allow nuts in their home and he can’t even sit near someone who is eating nuts in a pub.
Test purchases were later carried out at the restaurant and found 440μg/ml of peanut protein in the dish – an unsafe amount for an allergy sufferer.
Islam denied saying that the dish contained coconut at interview and also claimed there were no nuts in it, the court was told.
The prosecutor added: "He was 100 per cent sure the dish had no nuts in it. This was meant to be an enjoyable Friday night curry but it turned in a traumatic experience after just three mouthfuls of his favourite curry.”
The hearing was adjourned until December 10 to allow Islam to seek legal counsel as he could face jail for his offences.
Tony Shore, Trading Standards manager at Staffordshire County Council said: “Food allergy is a growing concern and can be life threatening, and is something that our teams are taking very seriously.
“We work with food businesses across the county to remind them of their responsibilities and importance of clearly labelled ingredients on food products and menus. Where this isn’t the case we will take appropriate action.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a number of incidents in Staffordshire where people have ended up in hospital as a result of being served food that has given them a severe reaction.
"Our job is to help keep people safe and if people choose a food outlet and are in any doubt about what’s in their food, they should walk out.”
By Joe Burn, Local Democracy Reporter
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