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Death of 15 year old highlights importance of food safety

Death of 15 year old highlights importance of food safety

Two men have been arrested over the death of 15-year-old Megan Lee, who died on New Year's Day after apparently suffering an allergic reaction to a takeaway.

Lancashire police are holding the two men, both staff members at an unidentified Indian takeaway, on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter by gross negligence.

Mike Williams, Director of food safety consultancy STS, said: "This tragic case just highlights the importance of food business operators treating allergenic ingredient control with the utmost of care. Simple mistakes or base negligence can have devastating consequences.

"Food business operators simply cannot hide behind ignorance when it comes to food safety and allergens. Legislation controlling allergenic ingredients is no longer new having been formally in force for over two years, with the Food Standards Agency and other bodies running major awareness campaigns.

"This is the not the first case and, unfortunately, will likely not be the last where negligence has led to the death of a young person and business owners must stand up and accept their responsibility to make sure that allergenic ingredients are carefully controlled. Staff members in food establishments also have their own responsibilities and should follow guidelines that they have been provided with.

“Ensuring that staff and managers are properly trained is of critical importance as is remembering that documentation detailing allergenic ingredient content must be updated as menu items change or alternative raw materials are sourced.

"Controlling allergenic ingredient content in foods is not necessarily difficult, it just needs awareness and care with the relevant time and attention paid to it. As we've seen in this case, lapses can result in the worst possible outcome."

Established in 1986, food safety and health and safety consultancy STS provides specialist services for caterers, food retailers and suppliers. STS has strong links within the food industry, working as development partners for e-learning with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and as industry partners for ABT.

Further information on food allergens can be found HERE in the current issue of Essentially Catering.

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