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Leon chain warns diners with allergies not to eat in their restaurants

We offer specialist help in gluten poisoning claims. This is something close to our hearts as we have first-hand and family experience of coeliac Intolerance. We have written regularly about ways to be safer when eating out. But we recognise that even with the utmost care, and with the restaurant or food outlet meeting their responsibilities fully, there is no such thing as a 100% guarantee in the real world.

So what to make of the founder and CEO of the Leon fast food chain warning customers with severe allergies not to eat there as it cannot guarantee its food is completely free of allergies?

After the warning was published on the Leon website in January 2019 there was a storm of controversy with commenters labelling the chain as lazy, or accusing it of mixed messages as their food is labelled ‘free-from’ at the same time as they are stating they can’t guarantee this.

Feelings were further inflamed after it emerged that a customer was turned away from one branch of Leon’s, being told not to eat there if her son’s allergies are ‘life threatening’. Alex Baracaia, whose eight year old son Sidney is allergic to a number of foods, was incensed.

However, Leon have since made it clear that it is not their policy to turn away food allergy sufferers.

It’s not our place to advise or take a position on Leon’s policy but it does draw attention to the dilemmas of modern living. Where does responsibility begin and end? Is it the sufferer’s responsibility to take care to avoid any potential risk? Should the food vendor assume all the risk, when they cannot 100% ensure all risk has been removed?

Modern life is complex, and simple solutions can rarely be found to complex issues. It’s impossible to live entirely free from risk, but it is also incumbent upon those who supply food to the public to remove as much risk as is possible.

In the end, unless we want to stop the sale of all prepared foods to the public, it comes down to the individual’s decision. But it is best to ensure that you’re as well informed and as up to date as possible.

If you have any concerns about a possible food poisoning or allergen incident then please contact us for a free, confidential discussion, you can call us on 01535 958778, email us or use the form on this page.

Arthritis and Gluten- the hidden connection

Coeliac Disease sufferers may find relief from arthritis symptoms by changing their diet.

Scientists are studying in ever greater detail the role of the gut and inflammatory disease in modern illnesses.

Arthritis is an autoimmune disease of the joints. Coeliac Disease is also an autoimmune disease, but of the gut. Could there be a connection between the two, and could treatment for one help ease the other?

The science of autoimmune diseases is a complex and relatively new field. Everything from depression to arthritis has been attributed to our immune system attacking our own bodies instead of viruses, bacteria and other hostile organisms that attack our bodies.

Scientists in America have recently suggested that there may be a link between Coeliac Disease and Arthritis.

Coeliac Disease is caused by the body’s immune system responding to gluten, a protein found in wheat. In Coeliac Disease the immune system sees gluten as an enemy and attacks it. This causes inflammation of the intestine which goes on to damage the structure of the gut so badly that it affects its ability to absorb nutrients.

Gluten, unlike other proteins isn’t digested completely and fragments of partially digested gluten can pass through the intestine into the blood stream, circulating around the body reaching its organs and joints. This can cause a host of serious problems such as weight loss, anaemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, skin rashes, headache, depression, fibromyalgia and joint pain.

According to Rochelle Rosian, MD, a rheumatologist at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, inflammation outside the gut is especially likely to affect the joints. She adds that many of her Arthritis patients who are sensitive to gluten notice less joint pain when they don’t eat it. “Patients with arthritis are always looking for nondrug ways to manage inflammation,” she says. “We know that certain foods are pro-inflammatory and that includes gluten-containing grains and the thousands of foods made from them. When some, but not all, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eliminate these from their diet, they find their arthritis improves.”

However it’s not a good idea to embark on a gluten free diet for arthritis before testing for Coeliac Disease as the diet will make the tests inaccurate, and there can be other causes than gluten such as FODMAPs (sugars in some fruit and vegetables), lactose or wheat.

However if you do have an autoimmune condition such as arthritis specialist doctors encourage you to get screened for Coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity.

If you have any concerns about a possible food poisoning or allergen incident then please contact us for a free, confidential discussion, you can call us on 01535 958778, email us or use the form on this page.

Please Note:

This article is based upon one published by the Arthritis Foundation in July 2015. O’Neill Injury Solicitors are not medical practitioners so any information in this article must not be taken as medical advice. If you are concerned about any of the issues raised in the article please seek qualified medical advice and do not consider taking any actions based on the information in this article before doing so.

USA outbreak proves food poisoning can occur on any foods

Romaine Lettuce recall in USA

A serious outbreak of e.coli food poisoning in America and Canada is a stark reminder that food poisoning can occur with many foods. In this case the culprit is not chicken or dodgy beefburgers but Romaine lettuce.

For the second time in two years this popular lettuce has caused serious outbreaks of e.coli in North America. The previous outbreak resulted in five deaths and at least 120 people ill, this current outbreak has so far been limited to approximately 60 reported illnesses .

Luckily for our trans-Atlantic cousins the outbreak has now been declared over. Although any unlabelled Romaine lettuces, along with any labelled as produced in certain states, must still be discarded.

Stop eating lettuce

The FDA considered the outbreak so serious it withdrew all Romaine lettuces for a period to ensure a ‘clean break’ and on November 20th the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told people in the USA to stop eating and dispose of all Romain lettuces they had.

Please don’t think that there is something particularly dangerous about Romaine lettuce. As one food poisoning attorney said; “I think it’s just, Romaine’s getting a bad draw. It could have just as easily happened to other kinds of lettuce or other types of leafy greens, such as spinach.”

e.coli can occur on any food

We write regularly on the danger of thinking that only certain foods, like chicken or kebabs can cause food poisoning. The truth is that nearly every food type can carry bacteria like e.coli. We can only emphasise again how important it is to take care when eating out. You can read our guide to avoiding food poisoning in a restaurant or take away here.

If you have any concerns about a possible food poisoning or allergen incident then please contact us for a free, confidential discussion, you can call us on 01535 958778, email us or use the form on this page.

Pret food allergy death sparks review of law

Parents of food allergy death teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse recently met with Michael Gove and said afterwards that the law on allergen labelling could be improved by summer 2019.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said a full review of food labelling would be carried out by Christmas and that he wants a ‘Natasha’s Law’ to be in place in 2019.

15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died in 2016 after eating a baguette bought in Pret that contained sesame seeds that were not listed on the wrapper.

At her funeral her father Nadim Ednan-Laperouse promised the congregation that his daughter would receive justice. Her family have campaigned for greater consistency in food labelling and for products to be labelled with complete allergen information.

Natasha’s mother, Tanya, told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday: “We taught Natasha to trust labels, to trust ingredients – she learned all the different words for different allergens.

“She could read a label and understand it by the time she was nine years old. It was very much a part of our life. There mustn’t be confusion with labels, it really does need to be standardised. If there is a label it should be the same everywhere.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs would be advising large companies such as Pret to change procedures before the law was introduced, Natasha’s mother said.

Oneill Injury Solicitors are one of the foremost specialist food and gluten intolerance solicitors in the UK. Their special interest in this field comes from the principal’s first hand and family experience of gluten poisoning.

If you have any concerns about a possible food poisoning or allergen incident then please contact us for a free, confidential discussion, you can call us on 01535 958778, email us or use the form on this page.

 

Second Pret food allergy death revealed

It was revealed today that a second person had apparently died from an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger product, this time a flatbread.

News of this tragic death again underlines some serious points. Firstly food allergy is not a fad, or a flippant matter. It can literally be a matter of life and death. Secondly,it is very hard to be sure that foods that you buy that have been prepared by others are really safe. In this case a yoghurt that Pret bought as guaranteed dairy free in fact contained dairy protein. Coyo, the supplier however denies its yoghurt is to blame for the death. Pret withdrew all affected products as soon as it was made aware of the incident by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

We are very pleased that Pret had already moved to start trialling full ingredient labelling on product packaging. The law currently only requires labelling to be on the display cases for products prepared ‘in-house’, not on the actual product packaging. Encouragingly Greggs said it too will urgently review its current procedures in order to understand how best to provide ingredient information to customers.

Theresa May has called for a review of food labelling laws in the wake of the first death, revealed in late September 2018. We very much support this review and hope it is implemented swiftly to avoid any such further incidents.

Oneill Injury Solicitors are one of the foremost specialist food and gluten intolerance solicitors in the UK. Their special interest in this field comes from the principal’s first hand and family experience of gluten poisoning.

If you have any concerns about a possible food poisoning or allergen incident then please contact us for a free, confidential discussion, you can call us on 01535 958778, email us or use the form on this page.

Pret had nine sesame allergic reactions

 Pret A Manger had nine sesame allergy reactions in the year before Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death

The coroner’s inquiry into the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse heard that the Pret A Manger chain had nine sesame allergy reactions in the year before the 15 year old’s death in July 2016, and that six of them reportedly involved an ‘artisan baguette’ of the type that she ate.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after eating a baguette she bought at a Pret A Manger outlet in Heathrow airport before boarding a flight to Nice. She became ill minutes after eating the baguette and, despite her Fathers best efforts, including using two epi pens, she suffered cardiac arrest and upon landing in Nice was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The inquest has heard that the label on the baguette made no mention of sesame. It seems there are less stringent requirements for on-product labelling for ‘made to sell’ products than for other foods, and that Pret never lists ingredients on its packets. Instead opting to provide allergen guidance on the refrigerated display cabinets and in the till area.

It is unclear whether that guidance was on display and easy to read on that day.

This raises questions about the adequacy of current regulations for allergen labelling of ‘made to sell’ foods. It would seem obvious, when not seeing the information can lead to death, that it should be mandatory to apply labels to the food packaging itself.

Until that is the case it means anyone suffering a food allergy must be especially careful when eating food such as sandwiches etc that are ‘made to sell’. The wisest course of action when buying food like this is to presume it has been contaminated and ask the management directly how the product was made, does it contain any allergens, and how it was handled in the shop itself. If there’s any doubt just don’t buy the product.

Oneill Injury Solicitors are one of the foremost specialist food and gluten intolerance solicitors in the UK. Their special interest in this field comes from the principal’s first hand and family experience of gluten poisoning.

If you have any concerns about a possible food poisoning or allergen incident then please contact us for a free, confidential discussion, you can call us on 01535 958778, email us or use the form on this page.

This article is based upon information publicly available in news media including the Guardian, Sky News and the BBC.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-45623831

https://news.sky.com/story/live-inquest-into-death-of-girl-who-ate-pret-baguette-11508049

https://snacksafely.com/2018/09/what-we-hope-to-learn-from-the-natasha-ednan-laperouse-inquest/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/sep/24/father-of-girl-who-died-of-allergy-on-plane-blames-pret-a-manger

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/25/pret-a-manger-allergic-reactions-year-before-natasha-ednan-laperouse-died-inquest-told

 

Tesco recalls Halo Top ice cream

Tescos have recalled a ‘healthy’ ice cream after it was found to contain soya that wasn’t listed in the ingredients. If you have had an allergic  reaction to Tesco’s Halo Top ice cream get in touch with us as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation and it’s important to act quickly.

Whilst allergic reactions are often mild they can be very serious and approximately 1 in 14 children in the UK have an allergy to at least one food-type such as soya.

People who are allergic to soya can have a range of reactions. These include vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Halo Top ice cream is made by a US company which began selling in the UK in January. There are two flavours affected, Mint Chip and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  The affected tubs have a use by date of between January 13, 2019 and May 7, 2019. They both have chocolate chips and it is these ingredients that contain the soya. The ice creams come in 473ml tubs and both Tesco and Ocado sell them.

If you have had an allergic  reaction to Tesco’s Halo Top ice cream get in touch with us as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation and it’s important to act quickly.
Phone us now on 01535 958778, or use the form on this page.

Dynamo the Magician struggling to recover from Food Poisoning

In a video posted on Twitter the Bradford street magician Dymano, who achieved worldwide fame, tells his fans about the serious consequences of the food poisoning he suffered in the summer of 2017.

For Dynamo the food poisoning was made even more serious as he suffers from Crohn’s disease, a chronic disorder that causes inflammation of the intestines. Crohn’s disease is also know as Inflamatory bowel disease (IBD).

“Thankfully the NHS worked amazing well to get me out of hospital and back on my feet.”

Dynamo said he was still dealing with some of the side effects of the treatment.

“The main one is a bad type of arthritis which has affected all the joints in my body, my toes, my knees, my neck, ankles, my hands, which really sucks as a magician when you can’t shuffle a pack of cards cos your hands are in so much pain, which has happened on the odd occasion.”

His appearance has changed dramatically. As a consequence of the treatment he has put on a lot of weight and developed a rash all over his body.

“As you can probably see my appearance has changed quite a bit due to all the medication I’m on. I’m on quite a lot of tablets,” he explains, “And all the medication has caused me to put on a lot of extra body weight as well as a rash that’s all over my head. It’s actually all over my body but thankfully you guys don’t have to see that.”

However Dymano is keeping positive: “I’m doing everything in my power to get myself better. I wanted to let you guys know what was going on from me personally.

“I’m staying positive, I’m working on new magic, I’ve got great people looking after me and I know you guys who have supported me from day one will have my back.”

Food Poisoning can have very serious consequences. If you think you have contracted food poisoning seek qualified medical attention as quickly as possible. If you contracted food poisoning in a public place, or from a commercial food outlet, you may be entitled to compensation which may be very important if you suffer long term debilitating effects. You are welcome to contact us for a free, confidential consultation on the matter, with no obligations.

Whiskey terminates bugs!

Do you love the chink of ice in your favourite tipple? Why not its refreshing, glamorous… and can give you food poisoning.

OK it hardly ever happens but it’s a fact that neither ice nor alcohol, even strong stuff like vodka, doesn’t necessarily kill off all infection causing bacteria. Not even freezing gets rid of all the nasty bugs.

According to Elle magazine, research published in the medical journal Springer finds that the best way to get rid of bacteria lurking in ice is that brown fiery liquid at the back of your Dad’s drinks cupboard – whiskey! In tests it came out as the top terminator, with tonic next and Coca-Cola third. So maybe it’s time to check out some popular whiskey cocktails. Of course drinking a drink with ice won’t make you ill in the vast majority of cases. But if making sure means you get to try new cocktails and feel glamorous as well? Hey, what’s to lose!

Here’s our top 5 trending whiskey cocktails;

Whiskey Sour – whiskey, lemon juice, egg white and sugar syrup.

Penicillin – whiskey, lime juice, honey-ginger syrup garnished with candied ginger.

Godfather – whiskey and amaretto.

Rob Roy – whiskey, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters

Blood and Sand – whiskey, cherry brandy, sweet vermouth and orange juice.

Pickleback – not strictly a cocktail but too bizarre not to miss, it’s a shot of whiskey chased with a shot of… pickle juice. Seriously!

Drink safely now.

Care Home fined £120,000 after death from fall

A care home near Oswestry has been fined £120,00 after a wheelchair bound inmate was found at the foot of a flight of cellar stairs in the home.

The pensioner, who had an amputated right leg, was found at the foot of the stairs and despite attempts to resuscitate died, he was found to have a fractured skull.

The Health and Safety Executive, who brought the prosecution, stated that the door to the cellar, despite having a keypad lock and being inspected regularly, did not always lock properly.

Akira Care, who run the care home, have now installed new handrail, door and lock.

The judge sentencing the company said that he took into consideration that Akira Care had no previous convictions and that it had cooperated fully and taken steps to remedy the problem. But he noted that the cellar steps were steep, the handrail difficult to use and it was tricky to leave the cellar.

Akira was fined £120,00 and ordered to pay over £40,000 costs.

If you are concerned about the safety of a loved one in a care home please take action now. Most care homes will be grateful for any legitimate concerns raised. We offer a free initial consultation if you wish to talk your concerns over with a third party before taking action. You can phone us on 01535 958778.

This article is substantially based on an article in the  Shropshire Star February 2018.