Judge jails takeaway boss after customer suffers anaphylactic shock

Hadi (pictured) walked away with a suspended sentence but received a curfew for his part

A takeaway boss has been jailed after a customer with a nut allergy had an anaphylactic shock after eating a beef korma.

Mohammed Hadi, 39, was told by judge Peter Armstrong: ‘You were playing in effect Russian roulette with customers, issuing them food which you had no idea whether it was peanut-free or not. It’s only by good fortune that the customer in this case wasn’t killed.’

He jailed Hadi for six months. Co-accused Mohammed Arif, 51, was also an operator of the now-defunct Goa Lounge in Redcar, but played a lesser role, cleaning and working in the kitchen.

He avoided jail with a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years with a three-month tagged curfew between 9pm and 7am.

A woman was left hospitalised after consuming the dish bought at the takeaway on August 5 last year, even though she had alerted staff to her allergy.

‘She was told, quite untruthfully, that the meal would be peanut-free,’ said the judge. ‘When she had her beef korma she went into anaphylactic shock and ended up in hospital. Fortunately she survived.

Pictured: The takeaway which test purchases found as serving up dishes with dangerous levels of peanut protein despite requests for a peanut-free meal

Pictured: The takeaway which test purchases found as serving up dishes with dangerous levels of peanut protein despite requests for a peanut-free meal 

‘Others who in other cases have undergone the experience have not been so fortunate.’

He told the defendants: ‘You’ve blatantly or flagrantly lied, in my view, to the customers, or if it wasn’t a deliberate lie it was a flagrant disregard for the risk.’

Arif (pictured) has been jailed for six months for failing to comply with food safety

Arif (pictured) has been jailed for six months for failing to comply with food safety 

When inspectors made a test purchase days later, the dish was found to contain dangerous levels of peanut protein, despite repeated requests for a peanut-free meal.

Redcar and Cleveland Council’s environmental health department was first notified of the episode on August 10, 2018, prosecutor Andrew White previously told magistrates.

He said: ‘The complainant stressed that she had informed the business that she suffered from a peanut allergy and the business stated that it would provide a peanut-free meal.’

On August 15, environmental health officer Ian Hunter carried out a test purchase, ordering the same items, a beef korma, naan bread, onion bhaji and a poppadom, and stressing that the meal must be peanut-free.

‘When he arrived at the premises Mr Hunter again asked for confirmation that the meal was peanut free, that confirmation was given so he paid for the meal.’

Results from tests carried out showed that the beef korma dish contained dangerously high levels of peanut protein for anyone with an allergy.


Anaphylaxis, also known as anaphylactic shock, can kill within minutes.

It is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger, such as an allergy.

The reaction can often be triggered by certain foods, including peanuts and shellfish.

However, some medicines, bee stings, and even latex used in condoms can also cause the life-threatening reaction.

According to the NHS, it occurs when the immune system overreacts to a trigger. 

Symptoms include: feeling lightheaded or faint; breathing difficulties – such as fast, shallow breathing; wheezing; a fast heartbeat; clammy skin; confusion and anxiety and collapsing or losing consciousness. 

It is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

Insect stings are not dangerous for most victims but a person does not necessarily have to have a pre-existing condition to be in danger. 

An incremental build-up of stings can cause a person to develop an allergy, with a subsequent sting triggering the anaphylactic reaction.

Further inspection of the premises showed a lack of understanding of allergy issues put down to a ‘lack of training’.

Arif and Hadi both admitted two charges of failing to comply with EU provision concerning food safety and hygiene.

David Dedman, mitigating for Arif, of Abindgdon Road, Middlesbrough, told magistrates at an earlier hearing ‘his role within the business was significantly less than Mr Hadi’.

He said his client’s role was small and ‘he’s not the one who took the orders, he’s not the one who cooked the food’.

He said that ‘the peanut protein has gone into the meal through the herbs and spices that were used’.

Justices were told Hadi, of Scarborough Street, Thornaby, has ‘no history whatsoever of breaching food regulations’ and he has shown ‘genuine remorse’.

The hearing heard he lost around £40,000 of this life savings when the business closed and he has three young children.

At the crown court hearing, both men were given indefinite hygiene prohibition orders banning them from taking part in the management of any food business.

After the hearing, a spokesperson for Redcar and Cleveland Council said: ‘This is the first case involving food allergens taken by the council. 

‘It highlights how important it is that food business operators must have good knowledge of what the food they sell contains and they must understand the risks around cross-contamination within their business.

‘Since this incident was brought to the attention of Environmental Health Officers, we have provided all relevant food businesses within the borough with allergen information, links to free online training, and examples of procedures, and we will continue to highlight the importance of allergen awareness and control during visits.

‘The health of the public is always of paramount importance and anyone who sells food that poses a health risk to the public will be dealt with effectively. Our officers will continue to do all they can to protect public health when investigating complaints and inspecting food premises and will crack down on operators that fail to keep their businesses in order.’


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