A British restaurateur has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, and charged with six food food safety offenses, resulting in six years' imprisonment. It's a decision that could set precedence in the food industry worldwide, placing more responsibility on restaurant owners and staff to ensure safety of ingredients. Mohammed Zaman was found guilty in part due to his wholly careless attitude toward food safety. Choosing cheaper ingredients which contained peanuts over the more expensive ones which did not, he brazenly risked the lives of customers repeatedly. Paul Wilson, 38, died of anaphylactic shocks after being told the takeout food he'd ordered was peanut-free. Only weeks prior to Wilson's death, another customer of Zaman's restaurant was hospitalized due to a reaction to peanuts as well.
Customers who inquired about ingredients were told that the dishes contained almonds, but no peanuts, and Zaman denied culpability during questioning. He'll have plenty of time to reconsider his actions during his six year jail sentence, I'm sure.
The case highlights just how serious food allergies are, and how diligent those who have them must be when ordering in restaurants. Who can we really trust? What foods are safe, and what are the questions we need to ask?
Most importantly: ALWAYS CARRY AN EPINEPHRINE AUTO-INJECTOR.
In many cases, death from anaphylaxis happens because of a delay in administering the medication which can stop the reaction. I couldn't find information about whether either of these particular customers used an epinephrine auto-injector when their reactions started, but it was stated that Wilson did try to throw up when he realized he was reacting to the food. Unfortunately, that isn't an effective way to stop anaphylaxis.
Food allergy deaths are terrifying, and avoidable. While accidents do happen (I should know, I've made some really big ones), the negligence of this restaurant owner is horrible and unforgivable.
Be careful, allergy friends. Be safe.