governmentchemist


Food fear: when allergies can kill by Ellie Gadd
April 1, 2015, 16:00
Filed under: Allergies, EU Regulation/Legislation | Tags: , ,

A fit and healthy 22-year-old girl collapses suddenly after eating a cake and is rushed to hospital. She spends three days in intensive care and five more days in hospital recovering. Poison might have been suspected but there is no investigation for attempted murder. The culprit is caught but walks free from court with just a £7,500 fine.

You may find this shocking, but this was a real UK court case in 2010. The poison: peanuts. The charge: selling falsely labelled food.

In a comment article in the latest issue of Chemistry and Industry magazine (13 March 2015), Michael Walker, Consultant Science Manager for the Government Chemist, and Hazel Gowland, from Allergy Action, discuss this court case as part of a recent review they carried out examining court cases in the UK involving fatalities, personal injury, or criminal non-compliance with food law.

The article outlines the role businesses must play in protecting people with food allergies and the need for tough sanctions if they fail in their duty. They explain the difficulties in detecting the presence of allergenic proteins in foods and why techniques for measuring allergens need to be standardised.

Visit the Chemistry and Industry website to access a copy of the article.

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