Author Archives: 262admin

Pru Leith leads hospital food review

Major Review of Hospital Food after Listeria Deaths

The government has asked Celebrity Great British Bake Off chef Pru Leith to lead a major new review of hospital catering. The review follows the tragic deaths of 6 people in a listeria outbreak hospitals across the UK. The outbreak came from people eating pre-packaged food supplied to hospitals.

The review will;

  • focus on driving up quality to make healthier and more sustainable meals
  • reduce dependence on prepacked sandwiches and salads,
  • examine whether catering should be brought in-house
  • and establish national standards.

17 initiatives since 2000 and no discernible improvement in hospital food

The announcement has been met with a jaded response in some quarters as other famous chefs have been involved in similar reviews over many years;  Albert Roux was asked more than 25 years ago, then Lloyd Grossman, Heston Blumenthal and recently James Martin. However a 2013 a report found that over £50m has been wasted on failed schemes to improve food quality in hospitals. Previous schemes relied on hospitals to voluntarily follow recommended standards. The 2013 report concluded that hospitals need national quality standards to be enforced for any improvement to occur.

Fresh locally sourced food is aim of the review

Outsourcing is one of the key issues the report is expected to address. But not every hospital has the capacity to provide  in-house catering. Given that many hospitals spend £3 per meal, building kitchens and meeting the specific dietary requirements of individual patients will be very challenging for many hospitals.

Lucy Watson chair of the Patients Association said ‘across the country the consistency of the quality of food provided for patients… is very variable… this review, trying to bring fresh food and food prepared on-site back into our local hospitals is very welcome’.

Rob Percival head of food policy at the Soil Association which has a programme called Food For Life which supports NHS hospitals said ‘we know that it’s possible to serve freshly prepared high quality meals… in a cost neutral manner and the feedback from patients.. has been hugely positive’.

Pru Leith said; “Over the years, I’ve campaigned quite often with different organisations about hospital food because it seems to me so obvious that if you’re in a hospital you need to be fed healthily. Food is medicine.”

If you or a loved one has had food poisoning from any commercial outlet, including hospitals and medical premises, we may be able to help you. Please feel free to get in contact and we’ll give you a quick and fair assessment of whether you can make a claim for compensation. You can ring us on 01535 958778 or fill in the form on this page. We’ll get back to you asap.

Dining out Gluten free in the UK

Eating Out for Coeliacs in the UK

It’s a tough call being coeliac. At O’Neill Injury Solicitors we know this from personal experience. It’s a large part of the reason why we specialise in helping people who’ve suffered from consuming food with allergens. We know how serious the consequences can be.

So it’s great to find anything that may make life a bit less stressful. This article is a bit of a shout-out to one such organisation, Coeliac UK, the national UK charity for coeliacs.

They recently published a list of national restaurants that have been awarded their strict GF accreditation. So we hope they will like us sharing this really helpful information to an audience that doesn’t necessarily know of Coeliac UK or their Gluten Free Standard accreditation scheme.

Look out for the Coeliac UK Gluten Free accreditation symbol in restaurants, cafes and takeaway. If you can’t see it ask if they are Gluten Free accredited.

UK Restaurants that have GF accreditation

  • Browns
  • Carluccios
  • Cote Brasserie
  • Domino’s
  • Frankie & Benny’s
  • Handmade Burger co
  • Hard Rock Café
  • Miller & Carter
  • Pho
  • Pizza Hut restaurants and delivery
  • PizzaExpress
  • Prezzo

As ever it’s only wise to check that the restaurant you want to use still has GF accreditation, so ring in advance or look for the symbol displayed in the restaurant. If you can’t see it then it’s best ask to be sure they still carry the accreditation.

For more information on eating out gluten free please go to https://www.coeliac.org.uk/information-and-support/your-gluten-free-hub/venue-guide/

If you or a loved one has had food poisoning from a commercial outlet we may be able to help you. Please feel free to get in contact and we’ll give you a quick and fair assessment of whether you can make a claim for compensation. You can ring us on 01535 958778 or fill in the form on this page. We’ll get back to you asap.

Sixth death in Listeria NHS outbreak

A sixth patient in an NHS hospital has died after eating pre-packaged sandwiches supplied by the Good Food Chain.

Public Health England confirmed this is one of nine cases they had previously identified. This person became sick at Weston Sussex Hospital NHS Trust.

Dr Maggie Davies, of the Trust, said: “Patient safety is always our absolute priority. As soon as we were informed we may have received contaminated chicken sandwiches from the Good Food Chain we removed all products from our hospitals.

“Since then, we have had no further listeriosis infections reported to us. We want to reassure our patients, visitors and staff that the risk remains very low.”

Companies cease production after Listeria outbreak

43 hospitals across England were supplied with pre-packaged sandwiches and salads by the Good Food Chain. This business was supplied with meat from North Country Cooked Meats, who have since tested positive for the Listeria responsible for the outbreak. North County Cooked Meats have also stopped production.

We need a review of hospital food production, storage and management

Concerns about the risks of food poisoning from hospital sandwiches were raise at least three years ago. Scientists in the NHS warned in 2016 about the dangers in using this kind of food. Surely after a tragedy of this scale it’s now time for a full review of the current model of food supply to hospitals?

Listeria incubation period

We commented in our last post about this very sad outbreak, that incubation times mean it is possible further cases may emerge. The incubation period is 70 days and the infected product was withdrawn on the 25th May.

If you suspect that you or anyone you know is affected please seek medical help immediately.

 

 

Natasha’s Law – tough new food allergy labelling

Restaurants and takeaways will now have to provide detailed information on food products

June 25 2019 and Natasha’s law comes into effect. Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died in 2016 after eating a baguette from Pret A Manger that contained unlabelled allergens. Since then her parents have campaigned ceaselessly for tighter controls on food labelling.

Now people with food allergies can buy from a food outlet trusting the label will list any harmful allergens. Previously it wasn’t possible to be sure whether any of the 14 required allergens had been listed.

Michael Gove the Minister responsible for the law, which is called Natasha’s law in honour of the teenager’s death, said;

‘These changes will make food labels clear and consistent and give the country’s two million food allergy sufferers confidence in making safe food choices.’

Consistent and clear food labelling

Natasha’s law is ‘probably the most momentous change in food labelling in this country for a very, very long time.’ Said Natasha’s father, Nadin Ednan-Laperouse.

Nadim went on to say ‘Our mantra was to bring the light on what is in the dark. It’s about being honest and telling the truth. Food labelling needs to be clear – honest.’

‘Loophole’ in previous food labelling law now removed

Since 2014 it has been mandatory to label prepared foods with 14 allergens and all ingredients. But small businesses such as local sandwich shops were exempted as this was seen as potentially too onerous. However Natasha’s father, Nadin said in an interview for Radio 4’s flagship news programme ‘Today’ that large businesses, such as Pret A Manger, were using this to avoid fully labelling food prepared in their premises.

Allergy UK chief executive Carla Jones also welcomed the announcement, saying the national charity was ‘delighted’ with the legislation.

O’Neill 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 Solicitor’s first hand 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.

Three patients dead after Listeria Outbreak in Hospitals

Three deaths and three more people seriously ill from eating chicken salad sandwiches in Hospitals in Manchester and Liverpool.

The affected sandwiches are no longer being produced. The Good Food Chain supplied the sandwiches and has voluntarily ceased production. North Country Cooked Meats supplied the meat for the sandwiches. They have also stopped production.

NHS warned 3 years ago about dangers of pre-packed sandwiches

Concerns about the risks of contamination in hospital sandwiches were raised in 2016. Food scientist warned that sandwiches are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. This is because sandwiches can be left on trolleys in warm rooms before being served, and also can sometimes be given out past their use-by date.

Numbers infected with Listeriosis may still rise

The incubation time for Listeriosis is up to 70 days. The sandwiches and salads linked to the outbreak were withdrawn on May 25. This means more cases of infection may still emerge.

The sandwiches were also supplied to other outlets such as shops, sporting venues, businesses and universities.

Watch out for these signs of Listeriosis

Listeriosis is a very rare illness. It tends to be harmless but can be serious for pregnant women and people with weak immune systems. In the most serious cases it can be life threatening. Symptoms can appear similar to flu and may include;

  • A high temperature
  • Muscular aches or pains
  • Chills
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Diarrhoea

If you suspect that you or anyone you know is affected seek medical help immediately

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 reports in many of the main national newspapers. It is written in good faith, but O’Neill Injury Solicitors can’t vouch for any information in this article. If you have any concerns about any issues raised in this article please take advice from an appropriate authority as soon as possible.

 

 

‘Label All Ingredients’; Food Standards Agency calls for new rules

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) says food outlets should list all ingredients.

This initiative follows the death in 2016 of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse after eating a baguette from Pret A Manger.  The baguette contained sesame seeds that weren’t listed on the label.

The FSA adopted the strictest options in its recommendation to Ministers.  The FSA chairwoman said this is because “this is a life-threatening issue for a proportion of the population”.

There are risks with this very strict requirement. Some outlets may be put off serving people with allergies altogether. Food may be mislabelled in busy and hard pushed kitchens, and it may push up costs for outlets.  But these considerations needed to be balanced against the risks to people with allergies.

Now wrapped food will need labels.

Food freshly prepared in front of you still won’t need a label. This is because it’s assumed a conversation will take place with the server in which you can state your allergens. But a sign will need to be displayed encouraging customers to be aware about allergens in their chosen food. But sandwiches made on-site, wrapped and put out on a shelf will now need full labelling. This must include any of the 14 major food allergens included in the food.

Pret A Manger, whose food is prepared in this way, have welcomed the FSA proposal. The parents of Tanya Ednan-Laperouse called the recommendations ‘a momentous decision’.

The government has welcomed the FSA’s recommendations. DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will make the final decision on whether to go ahead with the new rules.

O’Neill 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 Solicitor’s first hand 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.

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.