A former takeaway owner has been prosecuted over food safety offences after selling products containing milk to a customer who reported being allergic to it.
We purchased a sample meal from Harry’s Chicken on Yorkshire Street to test their compliance with allergen information. In November 2018, a council officer ordered dishes through an online app, with the delivery message ‘No cheese please, I’m allergic to milk’.
After the order was collected, the dishes were analysed. The analysis showed that 2 dishes contained milk, which could have proved fatal for a customer with a milk allergy.
We carried out the sample test after serving an improvement notice on the business in October 2017 for not providing accurate allergen information. The improvement notice was accompanied with advice on how to provide accurate allergen information, which was delivered in writing and in a visit from council officers.
At Manchester and Salford magistrates’ court on Thursday, 4 April 2019, Mohammed Niqash Mujahid entered guilty pleas to 8 offences of placing unsafe food on the market, selling food not of the nature demanded, and omitting material information. Mr Mujahid, aged 25 of Jermyn Street, received fines, costs and a victim surcharge totalling £830. He is no longer involved in Harry’s Chicken, which is under new management.
'It is important that we pursue prosecutions like this'
Nicola Rogers, our Head of Public Protection, said: “We want to ensure that residents with allergies are able to order food safely and confidently. If this order had been placed by someone with a genuine allergy the consequences could have been devastating.
“It is important that we pursue prosecutions like this to ensure that businesses are heavily penalised if they don’t put the safety of our residents at the top of their priorities.”
In 2018, the owner and manager of a takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, were jailed for manslaughter after a 15-year-old girl died from a peanut allergy. Megan Lee had highlighted her allergies in her takeaway order but was ignored.
The exercise carried out on Harry’s Chicken is part of our work to ensure businesses are taking their responsibilities around allergens seriously. We've recently visited nearly 200 businesses and will be carrying out more sampling in the coming months.
Businesses must provide accurate information about what is in the food they serve
The Food Information Regulations 2014 require food businesses to either provide all allergen information upfront or to display a sign requesting that customers ask for allergen information if they need it. This also applies to websites and apps.
Businesses must provide accurate information about what is in the food they serve and they must manage food properly to avoid any cross-contamination.
Despite having food clearly labelled with allergen information and displaying a chart showing which foods contained allergens, Mr Mujahid failed to check that the dishes he was serving were safe for the allergies specified.