Whitehaven takeaway fined for serving meal containing peanuts

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The Directors of a Whitehaven-based takeaway have been fined £1345 for serving a customer a meal containing peanut, when a nut-free meal was requested.

Koyesh Ali and Giash Uddin, who run the Little Indian takeaway in Mirehouse, Whitehaven were also ordered to pay £2000 as a contribution to costs, and victim surcharges of £261 and £277 respectively at Workington Magistrates Court on Monday 29 January.

Mr Ali and Mr Uddin both pleaded guilty to selling unsafe food.

On 4 July 2022, a Trading Standards Officer (formerly Cumbria County Council and now Cumberland Council) contacted the Little Indian takeaway to order a lamb tikka korma curry, clearly stating that they were allergic to peanuts and that the meal must not contain any peanut. 

The officer was advised by a member of staff that the meal would not contain any peanut but would contain coconut powder.

The meal was later sent for analysis and was found to contain peanut, making the meal unsafe for anyone with a peanut allergy. 

On 1 August 2022, Cumberland Council’s Trading Standards team wrote to the business informing them of the results of the informal test purchase and provided them with a copy of the Public Analyst’s report. 

The business was warned that the amount of peanut in the meal was sufficient to provoke an allergic reaction to someone with a peanut allergy and that such reactions can be fatal.

Further to this, on 10 October 2022, a Trading Standards officer telephoned the Little Indian with an order for three chicken tikka kormas, making it clear that they were allergic to peanuts.

On entering the shop to pay for the meals, the officer again asked for and was given confirmation that the meal did not contain peanut. 

The sample was sent for analysis and the Public Analyst confirmed there was peanut in the meal and that the food was unsafe for a person allergic to peanut.  

Councillor Bob Kelly, Executive Portfolio holder for Policy and Regulatory services, said: “Cumberland Council’s Trading Standards team work incredibly hard to protect Cumberland residents and uphold the laws surrounding allergens in food. All businesses selling food are required to comply with these laws.

“It is both disappointing and very concerning that a food outlet can be caught out twice for a potentially very dangerous offence of this kind.  

“We really hope that the conviction and penalty will serve as a clear message to every food outlet across Cumberland. The message is a simple one - they must take great care of their food production, the information they publish about their food, and the way they respond to customer queries.

“It is vitally important that food outlets understand food allergies and the importance of preventing any cross-contamination occurring in their kitchens. Not doing so can be fatal for anyone with an allergy.”