Peanuts found in 'nut-free curry' at Walsall takeaway

  • 17 January 2020
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Mr Joynal Islam, owner of ‘Hot Chilli’ in Leamore has been ordered to pay the sum of £2,965 by Wolverhampton Magistrates after falsely selling meals described as peanut free to undercover trading standards officers on four separate occasions.

During the visits in 2018 an officer had explained that she had a peanut allergy and asked if the restaurant could supply a curry made without them.  The officer was assured that no peanuts were used on the premises but after the meals were analysed they were all found to contain more than enough peanut to cause a severe and potentially fatal reaction to someone with a peanut allergy.

Wolverhampton Magistrates court heard that after the first two test purchases Mr Islam received guidance and advice from Trading Standards Officers about how to ensure he does not put allergy sufferers at risk but proceedings were brought when he continued to make false promises.

One sample that was tested, a lamb korma dish, that had been described as peanut free was found to contain 11 times more than the safe level of peanut protein.  Mr Islam insisted that he did not use peanuts or almonds and only used coconut flour in his cooking and seemed surprised that it was found. The court heard that this coconut flour had been contaminated on the premises with peanut at over 200 times the safe limit. 

Mr Islam also falsely described the presence of almond on his menu and failed to display a notice advising customers to ask a staff member for allergen information, which is required by law in a takeaway establishment.

Councillor Garry Perry, portfolio holder for public protection said, ‘In the UK approximately ten people die every year from an allergic reaction to food, and many more end up in hospital. Even the smallest amount of an allergen can prove to be fatal so it is crucial that food traders comply with the regulations.’

‘Trading Standards work hard to ensure the safety of our residents and where a trader fails to comply with regulations it is essential that prosecution takes place and the law enforced. Despite continuously being given warnings, Mr Islam has ignored the advice given and has now paid for not following the law.’

Mr Islam pleaded guilty to the five charges against him and has been fined the sum of £2,965.

Hot Chilli takeaway, owned by Mr Joynal Islam, changed its name to ‘Ruchi’ in September 2019.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • The five charges made against Mr Islam are two charges under Article 14 (4) of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the Food Safety & Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 (injurious to health) and three charges under the Food Safety Act 1990.
  • Mr Islam has been fined the total sum of £2,965 made up of a fine of £1,332.00, a victim surcharge of £133.00 and a contribution towards prosecution costs of £1,500.00. This is to be paid in 14 days or arrangements can be made to pay in instalments.
  • Regulations specify 14 allergens which if present in food, must be declared in writing on prepacked food or where food is made on the premises, information can be given verbally but it must display a notice, menu, ticket or label informing its customers that allergen information can be obtained by asking a member of staff.
  • Analysis of informal samples of the meals purchased by officers were found to contain peanuts contrary to the information provided by the trader. On each occasion Mr Islam was given advice on his legal obligations.
  • Formal samples of food were taken in August 2018 under the provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the food law code of practice.
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