“Someone could have died” – Polesworth takeaway that sold a ‘peanut free’ curry containing peanuts fined £21,000

A Polesworth takeaway sold a Chicken Tikka Masala meal containing peanut protein to an undercover Trading Standards Officer, despite the officer asking for a peanut free curry.

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards brought the prosecution against Maya Tamworth Ltd trading as the Ratna Bangladeshi Takeaway Polesworth and its chef, Mr Mohammed Salik Mia. Both pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 and were fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £21,373.

Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:

“Many of us will be aware of the tragic cases of allergy suffers becoming seriously ill or dying as a result of consuming peanuts in a meal they believed was peanut free.”

“It is very disappointing that despite the efforts that have been made both here in Warwickshire and across the UK to educate businesses on allergy labelling and information, some restaurants and takeaways are still not heeding the message.”

“Warwickshire Trading Standards will continue to carry out these undercover tests to protect Warwickshire consumers.”

Warwickshire Trading Standards worked with District and Borough Environmental Health Teams to produce new allergy guidance for restaurants and takeaways and their staff. The service has also supported the Food Standards Agency’s ‘Easy to ASK’ campaign that encouraged food establishments to ask customers about their dietary needs.

Trading Standards Officers also carry out regular visits to food premises covertly to make purchases that are then tested for allergens. The Ratna Bangladeshi Takeaway was visited as part of a food safety enforcement exercise following a consumer complaint.

At Nuneaton Magistrates Court on 29th May 2019, Maya Tamworth Ltd trading as the Ratna Bangladeshi Takeaway (3 Market Place, Market Street Polesworth) and its chef, Mr Mohammed Salik Miah(DoB 15/06/1973 of 45 Regent Road Birmingham B21 8AS) both pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety Act 1990.

The Court indicated that the offence was very serious and had considered a custodial sentence as ““someone could have died”. Mr Miah was fined £1,236, costs of £1,057 and victim surcharge of £123, making a total of £2,416. The company was fined £18,000, costs of £1,057 and a victim surcharge of £170, making a total of £19,227.

In mitigation, Mr Uddin stated that the contamination had been accidental and his client had pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity.

Food businesses requiring advice and information on allergens can contact Warwickshire Trading Standards on 03454 040506 or visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/foodsafety

Consumers with food safety complaints can also contact their local Trading Standards Service on 03454 040506.