Greene King fined £24k after child's anaphylactic shock from dessert

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Dessert disaster: baked Alaska triggered 11-year-old boy's allergy (credit: Monkey Business images/thinkstock.co.uk)
Dessert disaster: baked Alaska triggered 11-year-old boy's allergy (credit: Monkey Business images/thinkstock.co.uk)

Related tags: Food

Greene King has been ordered to pay £24,000 after an 11-year-old boy suffered an anaphylactic shock in one of its pubs after he ate a dessert containing egg.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons and who was allergic to eggs, visited the Globe Inn, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, with his family in April last year.

His mother asked for a dessert containing no egg and she was recommended a baked Alaska by staff at the pub because the site’s allergens data sheets showed the dish did not contain egg, despite the fact that it does.

She then asked the member of staff to double check it did not contain egg – and triple checked by asking the manager, who produced the allergens sheet, which showed the wrong information.

An investigation by Central Bedfordshire Council food safety officers found there had been discrepancies between Greene King and its supplier in the list of ingredients in relation to allergens declaration in the dessert.

Guilty plea

The 3,000-strong pubco was made aware of this in November 2015 but did not take action until February last year and then did not check or put in place measures to ensure the individual restaurants had the correct information, which resulted in the incident at the Globe.

Greene King pleaded guilty at Luton Magistrates’ Court on last Friday (23 June) to one charge under the 1990 Food Safety Act of selling food not of the nature of substance or quality demanded.

Central Bedfordshire Council executive member for community services Ian Dalgarno said it was down to the boy’s mother that the “potentially tragic situation” was averted.

He added: “However, it would never have reached that stage if staff had been given the correct information about the dessert’s ingredients.

“It is unacceptable that a national restaurateur like this acted so slowly and inefficiently when it was made aware of such important information because what many of us consider commonplace food products can be potentially fatal to others.”

Dalgarno said the child was in need of counselling and psychological support for food and eating disorders, which was down to the incident.

Pub visit

He added: “Food safety officers from the council have visited the pub to double check that the correct information is held and being supplied to customers.”

A Greene King spokesperson said: "We would once again like to offer our sincere apologies to our guest for this isolated incident.

"We have a previously unblemished record and we would like to reassure our customers that their health and wellbeing is a priority.

"We have invested heavily to automate what is a complex process and are confident that this has addressed the issues which gave rise to this unfortunate incident."

Meanwhile, the Suffolk-based pubco came under fire earlier this month (June), after a diner took to social media to vent his frustration over an unsatisfactory meal at one of its Flaming Grill pubs, which he said was cold and poorly served.

A spokesperson for the pubco said it had apologised to the customer and had offered him and his family compensation.

Related topics: News, Greene King, Food

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