Restaurant Owner Fined For Serving “Peanut-Free” Meals Containing Peanuts

peanutsAn restaurant owner in the West Midlands has been fined after serving meals advertised as peanut-free but which contained enough peanuts to cause a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

Sandwell Council trading standards officers requested peanut-free meals when they visited the Indian restaurant and takeaway in Langley High Street.

Owner Afsar Ali, aged 31, was fined at Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court following an investigation and prosecution by the council’s trading standards and legal teams

Trading standards officers visited Mozalicious along with more than 40 other restaurants, posing as customers with peanut allergies, and requesting peanut-free meals.

However, analysis revealed that the meals contained enough peanut to produce an allergic reaction in someone with a peanut allergy which could be potentially fatal.

Sandwell Council environmental health officers were carrying out a food hygiene inspection at the same time, and evidence they collated revealed that that restaurant staff were not following strict allergen control procedures including a chef using the same spoon for nut powder, as well as for other ingredients.

Mr Ali was found guilty of providing food that was not of the quality demanded and that was unsafe. He was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling £3,174.

Councillor Elaine Costigan, cabinet member for public health and protection, said: “The restaurant in this case was told on two separate occasions by the officers that the meals needed to be peanut-free.

“If the meals had been served to someone genuinely suffering from a peanut allergy, then the consequences could have been fatal.

“Our officers have worked hard and continue to work hard to provide all food businesses in Sandwell with information about allergen control to protect our residents and prevent incidents like this occurring.

“Our advice is that if a restaurant is not able to provide meals that are free of allergens then they should not offer to do so.”