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Hygiene Sue - News Board

Posted by Sue Richardson  15/08/2018

Jail Time 

 

‘Never before has my article been more prophetic’ says Sue Richardson of Hygiene Sue.

This week Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, owner and chef was jailed for 2 years  and Harun Rashid, 38, takeaway manager, jailed for 3 years at Manchester Crown Court following the death of 15-year-old Megan Lee.

After eating takeaway food containing peanuts from the Royal Spice Indian in Hyndburn, Lancashire on Dec. 30, 2016, Megan began experiencing an allergic reaction. She was admitted to Royal Blackburn Hospital but passed away on Jan. 1, 2017. A post-mortem examination showed she died from asthma due to a nut allergy. Megan and a friend had ordered from the Royal Spice via the Just Eat website. A note was left in the comments section of the order about “prawn, nuts” but the food was found to contain large amounts of peanut protein.

Megan’s family said the investigation, trial, and media coverage had been a difficult process for them and evidence was challenging to hear. “Whilst we may have received some justice with the verdict, we live in hope that the result is a warning to other food businesses operating in such an ignorant manner to learn by this and improve their standards with immediate effect,” they said in a statement after the verdict. “We urge all food businesses to improve their standard of food safety and to take allergies seriously. Trading Standards and Environmental Health are there to help. Do not guess, do not play ignorant, do not play Russian roulette with precious lives.”

Detective chief inspector Mark Vaughton, of Lancashire Police, said Megan’s death was the consequence of their conduct. “As owner and operator, Kuddus and Rashid each owed a duty of care to the public. They had to take reasonable steps to ensure customer safety; and in particular, in discharging that duty of care, to take reasonable steps to provide food that was not harmful to customers with a food allergy,” he said. Vaughton said it was a “tragedy waiting to happen” which the defendants had given “little or no thought”. “The manner in which the operation was conducted; the premises and equipment maintained; the foodstuffs stored and used; the food prepared and supplied to the public, demonstrated little concern for the safety and well-being of their customers. There was a casual disregard for customer safety; hazard control; food safety and hygiene that was obvious, blatant and widespread.”

Karen Tonge, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the men failed to protect Megan as their customer.

“The law required Kuddus and Rashid to take reasonable steps to ensure customer safety and to provide food that was not harmful. Their manifest failures and complete disregard for the safety of customers was astonishing,” she said. “No appropriate systems or conditions were in place to protect Megan or any customer with a known allergy. There was little evidence of any attempt by the defendants to comply with advice and guidance issued to them by the local authority.”

Lynne Regent, Anaphylaxis Campaign chief executive, had helped Megan’s family, who will continue working with the charity to raise awareness of the dangers of allergies. “We hope that lessons can be learned from this tragic incident. We cannot stress enough how vital it is that anyone affected by food safety issues continues to report any problems to their appropriate Trading Standards or Environmental Health Officer.”

However, have lessons been learned? In May 2016  Mohammed Zaman, 52, was found guilty at Teesside Crown Court and sentenced to 6 years in prison after switching almond powder with the cheaper peanut powder ingredients. As a consequence of this, and in spite of the restaurant being told of a severe allergy, Paul Wilson, 38, suffered severe anaphylactic shock in January 2014 and died as a result.

 

Pret a manger have been in the news with the death of 2 customers so no, lessons have not been learned. People still do not understand the value and necessity of food hygiene, cross contamination and allergens.

 

 If you are interested in learning more about food hygiene call Sue Richardson 01892 524957 or email  theteam@hygienesue.co.uk