UK

Restaurant banned from serving food to customers with allergies

A Birmingham restaurant has been banned from serving any foods to people who state they have a food allergy following the hospitalisation of a diner.

Birmingham City Council obtained the emergency prohibition order against the African Village, in Birchfield Road, Perry Barr – the first time such an order has been used for this purpose in the city.

The customer, who has an allergy to foods that contain either peanut or fish ingredients, requested an allergen-free meal and was assured by the restaurant that this could be provided. However, on eating the meal, the diner suffered a severe anaphylactic reaction and was hospitalised.

Environmental health officers inspected the restaurant and found a lack of knowledge in relation to allergens in food, while it was also evident that there were many areas where food could be cross-contaminated by these products.

Mark Croxford, Head of Environmental Health at Birmingham City Council, said: “As there is an imminent risk to the health for people who have allergies, for the first time in Birmingham, environmental health officers successfully applied to the magistrates’ court for an emergency order. This prevents the business from serving food to anyone who states they have an allergy. As the business does not pose a risk to everyone it has not been formally closed and can trade as usual for everyone else.”

Councillor Philip Davis, chair of the council’s licensing and public protection committee, said: “It is disappointing that some food businesses have a cavalier attitude to allergens following all the recent national publicity. I fully support the actions of my team to protect customers of food businesses in Birmingham. All food businesses need to take this matter seriously. I urge all businesses to be honest with customers and if they are asked for an allergen-free meal and they are not 100 per cent certain they can provide one, that they tell the customer the truth and do not take any risks.”

The order remains in place until such a time that the restaurant can demonstrate that it is able to provide allergen-free meals.

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