Boy, 11, with dairy allergy died after his father gave him a chocolate bar at Morrisons thinking it was a ‘free-from’ product, inquest hears
- Raffi Pownall, 11, became sick after eating four chunks of Morrisons chocolate
- His father Thomas Pownall had believed he had given his son a dairy-free bar
- After Raffi became sick Mr Pownall realised the bar was in fact gluten free
Raffi Pownall (pictured above) died after eating chocolate which contained milk powder
A young boy with a dairy allergy died after his father mistakenly gave him a chocolate bar thinking it was a ‘free from’ product.
Raffi Pownall became sick after eating four chunks of Morrisons chocolate, which his father Thomas Pownall had believed was part of the brand’s ‘free from’ range.
As the 11-year-old was throwing up, his father checked the label of the bar again and discovered that it was in fact a gluten-free bar that contained milk powder.
After realising his son had ingested a product containing dairy he gave him his inhaler and his EpiPen before calling an ambulance.
Blackburn Coroner’s Court heard that Raffi was rushed from his home in Burnley to Royal Blackburn Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5.43pm on June 8 this year.
A post-mortem examination found Raffi died from anaphylaxis, which is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger such as an allergy.
The court heard Mr Pownall ‘genuinely’ believed the bar was free from dairy and that he ‘did everything he could’ to save his son.
A family friend posted this picture of 11-year-old Raffi (right) and his mother Ayesha Pownall
Coroner Richard Taylor, recording a conclusion of accidental death, gave an account of what happened on June 8.
WHAT IS A DAIRY ALLERGY?
A dairy allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to dairy.
Reactions to dairy, like other triggers, are usually mild, causing red rashes, itches, swelling and even vomiting.
However, they can prove deadly and lead to anaphylactic shock – which can kill in minutes.
It leads to a catastrophic drop in blood pressure and can trigger a cardiac arrest – when the heart suddenly stops working.
About 20 people in the UK die as a result of anaphylactic shock each year, according to figures.
Experts are unsure how many people have a dairy allergies, but claim they are one of the most common types of allergies.
The NHS advises patients with a dairy allergy, or allergies to other potential triggers such as peanuts, to avoid the food completely.
Dairy allergy is different to lactose intolerance, which is a common digestive problem to lactose – often found in milk.
He said: ‘His (Raffi’s) father went to have a look at the chocolate bar again and checked the ingredients and found that it wasn’t in fact free from dairy, but contained milk powder as it was a gluten-free bar.
‘He explained that Raffi had previously vomited on occasions when he’d drank milk and then recovered.’
He added that this time Raffi had become sick and had a temperature, prompting his father to grab the EpiPen.
‘But it was clear they were not working and the emergency services were called.
‘Mr Pownall did everything he could to save his son but he was taken from his home in Marsden Road, Burnley, to Royal Blackburn Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5.43pm.’
Mr Taylor said: ‘I record a conclusion that this was an accidental death… having inadvertently ingested a small piece of chocolate containing milk powder that was believed to be ‘free from’.’
Raffi’s parents didn’t attend the inquest.
A Morrisons spokesman today (Mon) said: ‘Our deepest sympathies are with Raffi’s family at this difficult time.’
Following Raffi’s death, tributes poured in for the Burnley schoolboy, who was described by teachers as a ‘lovely boy who was a pleasure to teach and would be missed dearly’.
A family friend wrote on Facebook that he was a ‘beautiful child, full of life, intelligent and superseding his age’.