The teen, Owen Cary, had made the staff aware that he had food allergies. Yet a Coroner’s enquiry found that a teenager’s tragic death was caused by an anaphylactic reaction to buttermilk in a chicken burger. The coroner’s court was told that the menu didn’t mention that the chicken had been marinated in buttermilk, a dairy food allergen.
The Coroner stated that current policy left too much room for error. However Byron’s technical manager, responsible for food safety training, said “If you have an allergy you should be asking for information and the team would be able to provide that information in the allergy guide.”
The deceased was not informed there were allergens in the food ordered
The assistant coroner, Briony Ballards, ruling stated:
” The deceased made serving staff aware of his allergies. But the menu… made no reference to any marinade or potential allergenic ingredient in the food selected.
“The deceased was not informed that there were allergens in the order. However the food served to and consumed by the deceased contained dairy. This caused the deceased to suffer a severe anaphylactic reaction from which he died.”
The parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a Pret A Manger baguette, called the ruling a “landmark judgement”.
Clodagh Bradley QC, representing Carey’s family, from Crowborough, East Sussex said that the allergy information was hard to read on the menu. This was because the information was on the back cover and printed in black on a blue background.
Owen Carey’s mother called on the government to change the law. She said ” We hope we can bring about change with Owen’s Law for better allergen labelling in restaurants.”
Francis O’Neill, our principal solicitor, said “This case shows how vital it is to make staff aware of any specific allergen requirements. But it also shows that the law needs to be even clearer about food allergen labelling and information. This need to be put clearly and where it can be seen on menus, and not in small type on the back . It seems even the staff were unaware the burger contained allergens – with fatal consequences”.
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This article is compiled from publicly available press reports. The information is published in good faith but we cannot vouch for its truth or accuracy. Please seek appropriate qualified medical or legal advice before taking any action.
Please see our article about anaphylactic shock.