Takeaway owner fined after serving potentially deadly dishes
Date published: 31 October 2019
The receipts for the milk order (left) and the peanut order (right)
A takeaway owner has been prosecuted after selling peanut and milk products to customers that reported having allergies.
Officers from Rochdale Borough Council visited Saajan Takeaway on Oldham Road posing as customers with a peanut allergy and ordered a korma dish that contained peanuts. The takeaway ignored the allergy warning and sold the meal.
Due to the council’s concerns, Saajan entered into a stop agreement which meant they voluntarily agreed to not serve people with allergies until appropriate measures were put in place. The agreement was accompanied with advice on how to provide accurate allergen information, which was issued in person by council officers.
With the stop agreement in place the council made another purchase posing as a customer with a milk allergy ten weeks later. Despite the stop agreement being in place, Saajan went on to serve a dish that contained milk.
The peanut dish and milk dish could have proved fatal for a customer with a genuine allergy.
At Manchester and Salford magistrates’ court on 15 October 2019, Mokoddas Ali, of Oldham, entered guilty pleas to six offences – including placing unsafe food on the market and selling food which is not of the nature demanded by the purchaser.
He received fines, costs and a victim surcharge totalling £1,700.
Councillor Sara Rowbotham, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The public protection team work hard to ensure that our residents with allergies are able to order food safely and confidently. If these orders had been placed by someone with a genuine allergy the consequences could have been devastating.
“It is important that we pursue prosecutions like this to ensure that businesses are heavily penalised if they don’t put the safety of our residents at the top of their priorities.”
In 2018 the owner and manager of a takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, were jailed for manslaughter after a 15-year-old girl died from a peanut allergy. Megan Lee had highlighted her allergies in her takeaway order but was ignored.
The exercise carried out on Saajan is part of the council’s work to ensure businesses are taking their responsibilities around allergens seriously. The council is currently taking part in a survey focusing on local takeaways and caterers, posing as customers, to look for undeclared allergens.
The Food Information Regulations 2014 require food businesses to either provide all allergen information upfront or to display a sign requesting that customers ask for allergen information if they need it. This also applies to websites and apps. Businesses must give accurate allergen information to customers upon request and must manage food properly to avoid any cross-contamination.
For more information on food allergens and to report any concerns you have about a business, call the council’s trading standards team on 0300 303 8871 or visit
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