Man is fined in nut allergy case

Eastbourne DGH, District General Hospital. July 19th 2013 E30007P SUS-150104-121632001
Eastbourne DGH, District General Hospital. July 19th 2013 E30007P SUS-150104-121632001

The former owner of an Eastbourne restaurant has been fined after it put a four-year-old boy’s life at risk by serving him a dessert containing nuts.

Stephen Nock was a director of Bright Ideas Studio Ltd, which owned Seasons Restaurant in Sovereign Harbour at the time of the incident in May last year.

The restaurant is now under new management and has no connection with the former owner.

Lewes Crown Court heard the mother of the child, from Bexhill, informed staff her son had a nut allergy and was assured an ice cream she ordered for him did not contain nuts.

However, it was served with a chocolate hazelnut wafer which the boy ate, triggering an allergic reaction which resulted in an eight-hour stay at the DGH.

The mother was particularly concerned with the response from the restaurant staff. Her son was not breathing properly and she had to administer an Epipen as she believed he was going into anaphylactic shock.

An investigation by East Sussex Trading Standards found the menu did not specify ice cream came with a wafer, or that it contained nuts, despite the fact it had been served in this way for some time.

The company’s allergen folder did not mention the presence on the menu of a wafer containing nuts and staff training records were found to be inadequate.

Judge Christine Laing QC was satisfied that the restaurant had some procedures in place to deal with allergens, but they had fallen short on this occasion.

In a hearing last Friday, Mr Nock, 61, of Bermuda Place, Eastbourne, admitted breaching the Food Safety Act.

He was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £959.