Failure to Label Allergens Compensation Claims.
If you have a food allergy, or if you know somebody who suffers from a food allergy, you will be all too aware of the implications if a restaurant, shop, or supermarket fails to correctly label their food produce. Food allergy sufferers can experience symptoms ranging from a bad rash on their skin, all the way up to more severe reactions, such as anaphylactic shock, or dizziness and severe breathing difficulties There are a range of injuries which can be suffered in between these two reactions, as well as, sadly, more severe reactions, including fatality.
What is the law surrounding labelling and information requirements for allergies in restaurants and cafes?
Allergic conditions relating to food products have significantly increased over recent decades and the UK has one of the highest incidents of allergic reactions worldwide. Adequate allergy warnings on food products, in restaurants, takeaways and shops are therefore crucial to ensure consumer safety, and since December 2014, new food allergen labelling and information requirements were introduced, which require all businesses that serve food to ensure that customers are provided with information about the use of allergenic ingredients. If this information is not directly provided, the establishment must be able to direct a customer to where the information can be found.
Prior to 2014, quite often customers would be expected to ask staff for information about allergens which, were the staff not correctly trained, could lead to serious life threatening – or even fatal – consequences.
Do all eating establishments need to comply with the regulations?
Yes. Put simply, even small back street establishments such as fast -food takeaways, must comply with the regulations. More often than not, there will simply be signs which direct the customer to ask a member of staff if they need further guidance on allergens, and there is a growing requirement for all shop staff, restaurant employees, and those who work in fast-food takeaways to have the requisite training to advise consumers of the potential risk of injury, due to any food allergens. To keep anyone suffering from food allergies safe from personal injury, it is imperative that all members of staff have full training, as well as an understanding of allergenic ingredients which have been used in the food and the consequences these can have for allergy sufferers.
What type of food is covered by the regulations?
The Food Standards Agency set out a list of 14 different foods that are required to be correctly labelled. This list is made up of:
Cereals which contain gluten
Crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs or lobsters)
Lupin (a legume, which belongs to the same family of plants as peanuts)
Molluscs (such as mussels or oysters)
Tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios or macadamia nuts)
Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if the levels are above a certain amount)
You can find out more information about these allergens on the Food Standards Agency’s website, here.
What if I have suffered an allergy from packaged food?
If the food that is being sold is pre-packaged, there are rules about how the allergens should be labelled, as well as the language and font to be used, so the labels are clear and not misleading to consumers. The overall goal of the 2014 Regulations is to minimise the number of personal injuries suffered, as a result of the failure to label ingredients.
Miscommunication errors can be fatal
Fortunately, not all food allergies lead to death. However, in one sad case a Manchester University Student, who was only aged 18, had visited Almost Famous in Manchester, where they explained their allergies to a staff member. They accordingly chose something they believed to be safe for them to eat. Tragically, the student later died following an allergic reaction to the food.
Following an inquest, it was ruled that the student had done everything they could to avoid triggering their allergies, as well as ensuring they had covered themselves in case their allergies were triggered, by carrying an Epi-Pen and inhaler. The restaurant, however, was found to have mis-communicated on several occasions, with the student’s order, and special requirements, going missing in the restaurant’ kitchen, which led to the student’s food being marinated in buttermilk, and the student’s allergies being triggered. In this instance negligence is clear to be seen, as are the horrendous effects that restaurants not listening to customers’ food requirements can have on our families.
The consequences of a restaurant not paying attention to a customer’s food allergies are again illustrated quite clearly in the following case. An Indian restaurant owner with a “cavalier attitude” was imprisoned for six years for the manslaughter of a customer with a peanut allergy, after he supplied him with a curry containing peanuts.
Mr Wilson, was meticulous about his condition and asked for no nuts when staff at the Indian Garden, Easingwold, North Yorkshire, cooked his chicken tikka masala takeaway in January 2014.
When the restaurant failed to provide a nut-free curry, causing Mr Wilson to die as a result, police and trading standards launched an investigation following Wilson’s death. Groundnut powder was found in the kitchen of the Indian Garden and had contaminated other ingredients. A test purchaser went to the Indian Garden the day after Wilson’s death and was assured by a staff member that they could buy a nut-free curry.
How do I deal with food allergies if I am eating out?
If you are eating out, in a restaurant or café, make it clear to staff that you suffer from food allergies from the off-set. You should ask questions of staff members, such as if they have received training about dealing with food allergies. You can also ask about how the establishment deals with issues such as cross-contamination, or ask to speak to the chef or manager about the options available to you as an allergy sufferer.
In order to minimise the risk of personal injury from a food -based allergy, you should ask to read the allergen information yourself, and not simply rely on a member of staff to relay this information to you.
MG Legal’s solicitors that deal with food allergy claims, often deal with cases where our clients have done everything they can to make the establishment aware of their allergies, but are unfortunate enough to suffer an allergic reaction due to a food allergy, resulting from the negligence of the restaurant or other eating establishment. If this happens, and you, or one of your friends of family suffers an allergic reaction to the food in a restaurant, contact MG Legal’s team of expert personal injury solicitors, as soon as you are able. Our solicitors specialising in food allergy personal injury claims accept food allergy claims, on a NO WIN NO FEE basis, with no financial risk to you, our client.
What are the most Common Symptoms of a Food Allergy?
Whilst every one of us is different, and may suffer a different reaction as a result of a food allergy, the symptoms of a food allergy almost always develop a few seconds or minutes after eating the food.
Some people may develop a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life threatening.
The most common type of allergic reaction to food is known as an IgE-mediated food allergy.
tingling or itching in the mouth
a raised, itchy red rash (hives) – in some cases, the skin can turn red and itchy, but without a raised rash
swelling of the face, mouth (angioedema), throat or other areas of the body
wheezing or shortness of breath
feeling dizzy and lightheaded
feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting
stomach cramps, abdominal pain or diarrhoea
hay fever-like symptoms, such as sneezing or itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
Can I claim for compensation if I have suffered anaphylaxis?
The terms anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock are often used to mean the same thing. They both refer to a severe allergic reaction. Shock is when your blood pressure drops so low that your cells (and organs) don't get enough oxygen. Anaphylactic shock is very serious injury and classed as a medical emergency. Without quick treatment, anaphylactic shock it can be life threatening. MG Legal’s solicitors specialising in claiming compensation for victims of anaphylactic shock, accept all food allergy claims for compensation on a NO WIN NO FEE basis, and are here to help if you need any advice or assistance about making a NO WIN NO FEE food allergy compensation claim.
How do I claim compensation if I have suffered a food allergy?
If the establishment that sold the food has failed to advise of the ingredients, and you have suffered an allergic reaction, then you may have a claim for NO WIN NO FEE personal injury compensation. At MG Legal, we have a team of solicitors that specialise in NO WIN NO FEE food allergy compensation claims, and we are here to help, as soon as you make contact with us.
As with all personal injury claims, the onus is on the Claimant to prove that they were injured, in this instance, that they suffered a reaction as a result of the food they were eating. Evidence is therefore key, and one of the first things our solicitors specialising in food allergy compensation claims will ask you is, did you keep hold of the receipt for your meal, or do you have any proof that the food supplied by the particular restaurant, takeaway or shop, caused you to have an allergic reaction. If someone else has purchased the meal on your behalf, such as a family member, ask them to provide you with the receipt. In order to evidence your claim for personal injury, you, or a friend or family member, should advise the establishment that sold you the food, of your reaction, so that the incident is recorded in their accident book.
If you want to make a claim for personal injury compensation arising out of a food allergy, contact our expert team of injury compensation solicitors at your local office to find out how we can help. You must be told about potential allergenic ingredients in food that is being sold to you. If you have made sure that the establishment is aware of your allergies, but the food that has been served to you contained an allergen or was contaminated, then – on the surface – something has gone wrong, and you could be entitled to claim compensation for injuries that you suffer as a result.
How much can I claim for negligence?
This is a question that our personal injury solicitors are asked every time we accept a new NO WIN NO FEE claim for food allergy compensation. Every case is different, and the final amount of compensation you are awarded will be based on the severity of the injury and the affect the injury has had on your life. For example, in cases of minor injuries, such as where a client suffers an allergic reaction, but recover with the use of an EpiPen, then the claim not be valued the same as an injured client who has had to stay in hospital or suffered lost earnings as a result of their allergic reaction to food. If you are injured as a result of an allergy to food, and require long-term care, rehabilitation and any necessary house adaptations to maximise the chance of recovery and independent living, MG Legal’s solicitors specialising in NO WIN NO FEE food allergy compensation claims will ensure that when your claim for compensation is successful, that we will recover all of your out of pocket expenses, and ensure that any future losses you may suffer, such as medical expenses, long-term care, or lost earnings, are claimed for.
One thing our personal injury solicitors are pleased to report is that most allergic reactions to specific ingredients and food types tend to be relatively minor. However, no matter how small your reaction is to the food, the reaction can still attract an award of compensation if caused by negligence.
Whilst every single claim for personal injury compensation is different to the one before it, our personal injury specialists will always make you one promise- that if your claim is successful, we will ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible, and we will not advise you to settle, until we are happy with the compensation you are being offered. At MG Legal, we treat our clients as we would like to be treat, ourselves. Our actions have served us well so far, and we are a leading personal injury firm, with our NO WIN NO FEE solicitors acting for hundreds of personal injury claims for food allergy sufferers, on a yearly basis.
Compensation Injuries caused by food allergies
The compensatory awards given below, relate to the damages those who have suffered an injury due to a successful food allergy compensation claim, would receive for their injuries. Any damages for lost earnings, or medical treatment, would be added to the sum for personal injury compensation:
Varying degrees of disabling pain, and cramps, continuing for some days or weeks- the bracket for food allergy compensation is up to £3,710, for the injury alone.
Severe toxicosis causing serious, acute pain, requiring hospital admission for days or weeks, and some continuing incontinence haemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome, having a significant impact on your home life, and work. The bracket for food allergy compensation is up to £49,000, for the injury alone
Serious and permanent damage to or loss of both kidneys: with the 10% uplift, damages for this injury resulting from a food allergy claim would be between 158,970 and £197, 480.
Should death unfortunately follow an allergic reaction to food the compensation settlement would be expected to be quite substantial. However as all fatal accident claims are unique to each individual it is impossible to provide an accurate figure without knowing all of the details.
Why choose MG Legal for my claim for my food allergy compensation claim?
MG Legal will only instruct the services of the best medical practitioners, whatever their field of expertise. At MG Legal, your claim for food allergy compensation is as important to us, as it is to you, and we want to get you the most compensation possible.
Our solicitors accept all medical negligence compensation claims on a NO WIN NO FEE basis, and have a success rate in excess of 99% for all personal injury and claims for medical negligence, that we accept. Our solicitors specialising in medical negligence claims demonstrate our own confidence in our ability by offering the NO WIN NO FEE agreement to all clients, as if we do not win, we do not get paid for our work; so, you can rest assured that we will do all that is within our power to settle your claim successfully.
Contact the experts
To speak to an expert injury compensation claim solicitor about your allergy related food claim, use our online enquiry form, email us to email@example.com or telephone your local office.