Pub fined £3,000 after girl hospitalised with allergic reaction

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

History of compliance: the Bull Inn pleaded guilty to failing to comply with food safety laws (image: Martin Richard Phelan, Geograph)
History of compliance: the Bull Inn pleaded guilty to failing to comply with food safety laws (image: Martin Richard Phelan, Geograph)

Related tags: Pub, Food allergy

A pub has admitted food safety failings after it served a teenage customer a dish containing egg, despite her making it clear she had a severe allergy.

The Bull Inn, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, pleaded guilty to offences under food safety and hygiene legislation after an incident which left a 15-year-old girl in hospital in a life-threatening condition.

The teenager informed pub staff she suffered from a severe egg and nut allergy and was advised to order a panna cotta dessert on the day of the incident, 14 April 2019.

However, the dessert was served with a passion fruit curd that contained egg.

Staff assured the customer on several occasions that the desert did not contain egg, both before and after she had eaten it.

Soon after leaving the pub, she was taken to hospital and treated for anaphylaxis after developing severe symptoms of an allergic reaction. She was kept overnight for observation.

Pub owner Pack Taverns admitted it had failed to comply with food safety regulations at the Oxford Magistrates’ Court this week (Monday 3 February).

The court fined the company £3,000 and ordered payment of costs to West Oxfordshire’s District Council of £2,854 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Good history

The 16th century pub was served three hygiene improvement notices on the Bull ­­Inn by the council following the incident, all of which were complied with.

Councillor Norman MacRae, cabinet member for environment, said: “The Bull Inn had a good history of compliance with food safety prior to this incident.

"The management had systems in place to control risks. However, this mistake was made with serious consequences.

“This case shows how important it is for food businesses to have robust systems in place, including training staff about allergens. It’s also vital that the premises provide clear and accurate information to customers about the ingredients in their products at all times.

“Catering establishments can be fined up to £8,000 for such offences, emphasising the need for vigilance at all times.”

The court saw testimonials from notable figures including the Duke of Marlborough when assessing the case.

The Bull Inn was contacted for comment but had not responded by time of publication.

Related topics: Health & safety

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