Derby City Council Trading Standards have successfully prosecuted a city takeaway for selling unsafe food.

In December 2018, Derby City Council received a complaint from a customer with a peanut allergy that they had needed to visit hospital after suffering an allergic reaction to food sold by Golden House (Derby) Limited trading as New Golden House, Ashbourne Road, Derby.

The customer had ordered food using a food delivery app and had also called the takeaway to tell them of their allergy before ordering their food.  The customer’s order on the app confirmed they had notified the takeaway of their allergy. They had kept the food and Trading Standards collected it to send to the Public Analyst.

After receiving the complaint, officers from Derby City Council Trading Standards posed as customers with a peanut allergy and ordered the same food as the customer, informing the business of their allergy before ordering their food.

After the meals were supplied, the officers identified themselves and formally sampled the meal.  This and the customer’s meal were then sent to the Public Analyst to check for peanuts.  Both tested positive peanut, with one meal containing 119mg of peanut per kilogram and the other 223mg of peanut per kilogram. The Public Analyst’s opinion was that the presence of peanut in a meal purchased without peanuts makes the food unsafe to consumers who are allergic to peanuts.

The case was heard at Derby Magistrates Court on Thursday 13th February and the company pleaded guilty to two charges of supplying unsafe food and two charges of selling food which was not of the substance demanded by the purchaser.   In summing up, the recorder commented on the thoroughness of the investigation conducted by the Council officers and commended the team for their good work.

Taking into the account the guilty pleas, Golden House (Derby) Ltd was fined £1000 per offence (total £4K) and ordered to pay Council costs of £3,900.

The victim gave this statement:

“My allergy to peanuts means that I have to be careful at all times about what I eat and to carry an EpiPen. When I have a reaction the symptoms are unpleasant, not to mention dangerous…I shake, struggle to breathe, become dizzy and unable to walk, vomit uncontrollably before I fall unconscious. The window between recognising the symptoms and being capable of injecting myself is narrow.

I informed the takeaway of my allergy by both calling them, and then writing it into the comments section of the food delivery app. They need to get an in depth knowledge of how to manage allergens in their kitchen or stop trading. This lack of understanding risks lives.”

Councillor Jonathan Smale Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Streetpride said:

“Food allergies can have potentially fatal consequences for consumers so it’s vitally important that food businesses have robust systems in place to ensure that they know what is in the food they serve. This prosecution demonstrates our commitment to protecting consumers when those systems have clearly failed.

“I’d like to thank the Trading Standards for their commitment to ensuring the safety of the residents of Derby.”