Today in London, the owner of a curry house was found guilty in causing the death of a customer who had a severe peanut allergy. The owner Mohammed Zaman, was sentenced to 6 years. He was found to have a “cavalier attitude” to food safety. This marked the first time in Britain that someone has been convicted of manslaughter over the sale of food.
The customer, Paul Wilson, 38, ordered chicken tikka masala to go from the restaurant, he specified “no nut” in the order in January 2014. He has avoided peanuts ever since he was 7 years old when he ate a chocolate bar with peanuts in it. The restaurant went as far as labeling his container “no nuts”. But after one bite of what would be his last meal, he had an allergic reaction, also known as an anaphylaxis, he was found slumped on his toilet at home where he had gone into anaphylactic shock and died.
Prosecutors said that Mr. Zaman had cut corners, replacing almond powder with a cheaper mix of groundnuts. Another customer with a nut allergy had to be treated at the hospital 3 weeks before Mr. Wilson’s death, he too was assured that his meal had no peanuts.
About 1 percent of Britons are allergic to peanuts and 1.3 Americans are allergic, as million as 4 million people. Peanut allergy death is entirely preventable with careful labeling of foods, unfortunately in this case Mr. Wilson was given the wrong information. Prosecutors stated that Mr. Zaman had a “reckless and cavalier attitude to risk” and “time and again he ignored the danger and did not protect his customers.”
We have written extensively about peanut allergy on this site.
All patients who have been diagnosed with peanut or any food allergies need to carry an Epipen at all times. We don’t know in this case if Mr. Wilson had one or attempted to use one, but it is unfortunate that he passed away from his peanut allergy. If you do have food allergies and do not have an Epipen, speak to your allergist or allergy doctor about getting a prescription for one.
More information on peanut allergies below.