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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.

US-UK Trade Deal sparks concerns over food safety

A US-UK trade deal which leads to more food being imported from America could see our hard pressed NHS having to spend £1bn more each year.

Sustain, the farming alliance group, issued this stark warning. They examined the food safety records of the USA and compared them with those of the UK. Considerably higher rates of sickness and death from food borne illness in the USA were found.

Using the Food Standards Agency’s cost estimates of campylobacter infections (a common and potentially serious cause of food poisoning), the extra expenditure needed to deal with the higher incidence of food poisoning in American foods  came out at £1 billion pounds.

This sum covers the costs to the NHS and loss of earnings. If costs like additional hygiene inspectors are added this could hit billions of pounds.

For further reading please see; https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2018-02-21/dirty-us-meat-could-come-over-here-after-brexit

O’Neill Injury Solicitors specialise in food poisoning and food intolerance claims. For free initial advice please call 01535 958 778, email us, or use the contact form on this page.

This article is substantially based on an article in the Farmers Guardian Feb 2018.

Bag for Life Food Poisoning Alert

The Food Standards Agency (FSA)  has warned that bags for life carry a risk of food poisoning. If raw foods such as fish or meat are carried in a bag for life, even if there’s no obvious leak or spillage, can still cause problems as traces of contamination can be carried on the outer packaging.

Deadly food poisoning bacteria such as campylobacter and E coli can easily cross-contaminate from raw foods, eggs, vegetables with soil on, and even the packaging of raw foods.

The Food Standards agency now recommends using separate bags for raw meat, ready to eat food and non-food items. To avoid confusion the bags should be  labelled, or colour coded and they should always be used for the particular type you assigned to them. So a raw food bag should always and only be used for raw food. All bags should be regularly cleaned as well. You should wash your hands when you get home and after unpacking your bags. Cotton bags are a good idea as these can be machine washed.

The FSA also recommends using insulated bags on warm days, or if leaving your shopping in the car for any length of time.

This article is a summary of the FSA’s advice and is intended as an introduction to the subject, if you wish to take any action to minimise the risk of food poisoning from reusable bags you should not rely on this article but read the FSA’s advice on their webpage; Read the Food Standards Agency advice here

Sussex Care Homes Under Investigation

Sussex police are investigating two disability care homes in Sussex in response to ‘significant safeguarding concerns’ after a number of reported deaths.

If you are worried about the care and safety of a loved one in a care home we offer free, confidential advice with no obligations whatsoever. Contact us now on 01535 958 778.

The care homes under investigation are The Laurels and Orchard Lodge, both in Horsham, West Sussex. Both homes cater for people with learning disabilities. They are part of a group of care homes owned and run by Sussex Health Care. A spokesperson for Sussex Care Homes said:” Sussex Health Care is working openly with the police and West Sussex County Council to support their current investigation.

“We are committed to assisting them in any way we can and positively await the conclusion and the outcome of the investigation”.

West Sussex County Council had alerted the Care Quality Commission who have since carried out inspections of the homes.

Police investigation

Sussex police are investigating whether any criminal offences may have occurred and have met with the relatives of residents whose deaths in the homes the police ‘may be investigating’.

West Sussex County Council said they have no plans to move any residents but have put in place ‘robust safeguarding plans’ and will keep the situation under continuous review. They have advised any other local authorities and organisations that have placed people in these homes of the concerns and asked them to  review their placements.

Full report will be published

 Debbie Ivanova, deputy chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission added that a full report, detailing CQC findings and any enforcement action against the provider, will be published once the investigation is over.

Concerned? Seek advice

If you are worried about the safety and care of a loved one then we will be happy to give you a free, totally confidential, consultation. If you want to consider using for compensation we of course will be happy to advise if you have a case to answer, after all that is our business!  But we are also perfectly happy to give you whatever advice we can to help you with whatever concerns you may have, irrespective of whether you intend to make a claim. Abuse and neglect in nursing and care homes is a dreadful thing and we are keen to do whatever we can to tackle this awful phenomenon.

We are very experienced in all types of care home abuse and neglect.

For free initial advice please call 01535 958 778, email us, or use the contact form on this page.

Stark regional variation in Care Home Quality revealed

Care Home quality varies starkly across UK

A report from the charity Independent Age has highlighted wide variations in services across the country.

Independent Age director of policy Simon Bottery said ‘councils must demonstrate that they understand the reasons for care home failures and are working to resolve them’.

The report revealed something of a North South divide, Stockport had the highest proportion with 62% of care homes rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission.

Whereas in southern parts of the country Islington, the Isles of Scilly, and Rutland – had no poorly performing care homes in their areas, while Richmond upon Thames, and Thurrock Council had 2.3% and 2.9% respectively.

Government and local authorities not taking crisis seriously enough

Simon Bottery, the director of policy for Independent Age said their research showed that central government and local authorities were not giving the problem of poor or inadequate care homes seriously and were not giving this ‘the attention it desrves’.

A perfect storm of pressures on care home providers

Margaret Willcox, president elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said that although local councils should take the findings ‘very seriously’ in the end it was ‘the way in which services are run by providers that is the most critical factor in ensuring a high quality of care’.

She said ‘Reductions in funding, increased demand by people living longer and with more complex needs, and the cost of the national living wage, while welcome, are putting significant pressures on councils and providers who are finding it hard to recruit and retain staff, especially in home care in those areas of high employment.’

This article draws substantially upon an article published in Nursing Times

Homecare – BBC report

Shocking levels of Homecare abuse reported to local authorities across the UK

Homecare neglect

Most care at home is safe and reports of abuse are relatively rare. However 23,500 allegations were made in the last 3 years.

We need carers to help older and vulnerable adults safely looked after at what is widely seen as the best place for them – at home. It is essential that such an intimate service is done sensitively in a professional and caring way.

However new figures the BBC have obtained show that over 23,500 allegations of abuse have been made to councils all over the UK in the last three years. But only a tiny number of perpetrators are held to account. The overwhelming majority of abuse is criminal in nature and never gets prosecuted.

Care is often arranged through the local authority using an external agency. So the care worker is working on behalf of local councils who are responsible for safeguarding. Experts say cuts to local authority care funding, unmanageable workloads and poor training are contributing to the toll of abuse. So how can families be assured that their family member is in safe hands?

Harrowing examples of abuse have been uncovered, one leading to criminal prosecution for ill treatment and wilful neglect resulting in the maximum available jail sentence.

A fragmented and underfunded system

Bridget Warr chief executive of the UK Homecare Association (UKHA), which represents 2,000 agencies has pointed out that “any incidents of abuse or neglect is awful… the vast majority of home care is good or excellent so we are talking about a…small minority.” “The whole… challenge of too little money in the system… absolutely needs to be investigated and put right.”

Types of abuse ranged from financial, physical and psychological, to even sexual abuse, but more than half of the alerts were about neglect, which is a very broad term. It can veer into violence and cruelty but the threshold at which it’s reported can vary widely between different local councils.

‘Conveyor belt care’ can lead to neglect

Why should allegations of neglect be so common? Pressure on carers may be a cause, and in 2016 NICE* issued guidelines intended to end Homecare visits of less than 30 minutes for such tasks as eating, washing and getting out of bed. But there is clear evidence that 15 minute calls are still taking place, this puts great pressure on the carer, old people are slow and it’s all too easy to lose patience and rush the old person. Unions also point out that many carers don’t even get the minimum wage as they aren’t paid for travel time between visits. All this can add up to great pressure on the carer to rush to get to the next appointment and not take the care needed or even grab their ward to hurry them up.

According to a survey carried out by UKHA show that a very large proportion of local authorities are still using 15 minute visits, 70% are commissioning visit of less than 30 minutes, one local authority admits that 40% of visits they commission are for 15 minutes or less.

50% of UKHA’s members stated they were worried that such short visits could compromise safety and dignity. Chief Executive Bridget Warr said “To maintain people’s dignity and safety you need much longer visits for people who need that sort of care”.

Extraordinary lack of prosecutions

Disciplinary action took place in only 8% of alerts raised across the UK. Police were involved in nearly 700 cases and out of the 23,500 alerts raised only 15 prosecutions were brought.

Gary Fitzgerald Chief Executive Action on Elder Abuse said that “The overwhelming majority of abuse is criminal in nature and never gets prosecuted… Even if it gets to court you’re more likely to see community service given or a suspended sentence given than actually sending those people to prison.”

The Local Government Ombudsman, Michael King, is the last resort for people complaining about Homecare. His service has seen the number of complaints rose by 25% last year and he is upholding two thirds of them. He sends a very strong message to councils

“You can outsource the care contract but you can’t outsource your responsibility to make sure people are cared for properly”.

But in complex outsourcing arrangements important messages and information can get lost resulting in poor or inappropriate care, such as wrong medication or missed visits.

“State neglect”

The BBC programme ‘File on Four’ commented “Local authorities and care agencies throughout the UK reckoned the roots of neglect are in diminishing resources from central government”. However the Department of Health counters that it is increasing funding for social care and has brought in tougher inspection of care services. The programme reported hearing that some Homecare agencies are closing and others are handing their contracts back to local councils, which leaves councils with little choice about what agencies they can use. Councillor Izzy Secom from the Local Government Association said  ‘we have to accept that if we squeeze the money so much people will stop providing care… it is a very difficult situation to be in”.

Funding will be even tighter in 2020 when central government withdraws all its central grant to councils. Whilst Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the government is looking at solutions to the funding of Social Care no details are forthcoming.

Bridget Warr of UKHA said “If the funding doesn’t improve I am deeply worried. We are already seeing in some rural areas that there is no Homecare provider covering that area… If we don’t do something led by government pretty soon we are going to see some very serious risks… We are talking about state neglect when we looking at what’s happening with the funding at the moment”.

This article is based on the BBC radio 4 programme File On Four ‘Neglect:The Story of UK Homecare’, first broadcast on Tuesday 28th February 2017.
*The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence