Central Beds Council has slammed Greene King after an 11-year-old boy suffered an anaphylactic shock in one of its pubs after eating a dessert containing egg.
As reported exclusively this morning on this website Click here, the boy, who has an allergy to eggs, was out for a meal with his family at The Globe Inn, Linslade, on April 3 last year when the incident happened.
When his mum asked for a dessert containing no egg she was recommended a baked Alaska by staff at the pub as the allergens data sheets showed that the baked Alaska did not contain egg, despite the opposite being true.
She asked the waitress to go away and double check – and triple checked by asking the manager. He then produced the allergens sheet displaying the incorrect information.
Her son suffered an anaphylactic shock and the boy was taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital by ambulance to be checked out.
An investigation by food safety officers from Central Bedfordshire Council discovered that there had been discrepancies between Greene King and its supplier in the list of ingredients in relation to allergen declaration in the dessert.
Greene King was made aware of this in November 2015 but failed to take action until February 2016. And even then it failed to check or put in place measures to make sure the individual restaurants had the correct information – resulting in the incident at The Globe.
Greene King pleaded guilty at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Friday to one charge under the 1990 Food Safety Act of selling food not of the nature or substance or quality demanded.
It was fined £24,000, along with a £120 victim surcharge, with court costs still to be agreed.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “Thanks to the boy’s mother a potentially tragic situation was averted. However, it would never have reached that stage if staff had been given the correct information about the dessert’s ingredients.
“It is unacceptable that a national restaurateur like this acted so slowly and inefficiently when it was made aware of such important information. Because what many of us consider commonplace food products can be potentially fatal to others.
“The incident has left the boy needing counselling and psychological support for food and eating disorders.
“Food safety officers from the council have visited the pub to double-check that the correct information is held and being supplied to customers.”
A spokesperson for Greene King said: “We would once again like to offer our sincere apologies to our guest for this isolated incident.
“We had a previously unblemished record and we would like to reassure our customers that their health and well-being is a priority. We have invested heavily to automate what is a complex process and are confident that this has addressed the issues which gave rise to this unfortunate incident.”