Indian eatery owner charged for allergy death

Tuesday 31st March 2015 14:26 EDT

London: The owner of a string of award-winning Indian restaurants in the UK has been charged with the manslaughter of a 38-year-old customer who died following a severe allergic reaction after eating a curry that contained peanuts.

Paul Wilson was killed by anaphylactic shock after eating the curry from a takeaway which is believed to have contained the nuts. The restaurant owner Mohammed Khalique Zaman, 52, was charged with manslaughter by gross negligence over the tragedy. It is the first time that a restaurant owner has faced such a charge.

Wilson, who lived near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, bought the meal from The Indian Garden, in nearby Easingwold, in January 2014 just months before the introduction of a law requiring food businesses to provide allergy information on all unpackaged food. Wilson, who had recently been promoted to deputy manager at the Oak Tree pub in Helperby, was found collapsed in his bathroom.

Although allergies are increasingly common, only around 10 people die annually in the UK from reactions to food. Trading Standards has recently begun clamping down on restaurants who use ground peanuts instead of ground almonds because they are cheaper, but do not disclose the ingredient. Most consumers would be unable to tell the difference, but for those suffering from a peanut allergy, eating the mislabelled food could prove fatal.

Zaman has run several restaurants across North Yorkshire and York for more than 25 years, including the Jaipur Spice chain, which won the Best In Yorkshire award at the Bangladeshi Catering Association Awards in 2012 and 2013. Zaman has also been charged with perverting the course of justice and an employment offence under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.

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