Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Food firm fined for supplying wrong ingredients to Cumbrian takeaways

A food wholesaler has been fined a total of £6,000 for selling products containing peanuts to two Cumbrian takeaways.

Euro Foods Ltd supplied groundnuts - containing peanuts - instead of almond powder, as requested, to another wholesaler who had in turn supplied Fiza Spice and Indian Spice in Cockermouth.

The firm denied two charges of false advertising but was convicted at West Cumbria magistrates today following a trial.

Euro Foods was fined £3,000 for each offence and ordered to pay £12,773.33 costs and a £15 surcharge.

Angela Jones, Cumbria's Trading Standards Service Manager, said afterwards that they were satisfied with the verdict.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that the almonds were substituted and sent to the takeaway outlets, who are not at fault.

"In the worst case scenario the actions of Euro Foods Ltd could have been life threatening for some people. We were lucky in this instance that no peanut allergy sufferers were affected by these incorrect supplies.”

The court heard that Trading Standards officers had visited the takeaways, both on South Street, in January 2011 to carry out spot checks on the food.

In each restaurant, they asked if the chicken tikka masala contained peanuts – which can cause anaphylactic shock in people with peanut allergies – and were told it did not.

The officers took away the food for testing and the samples from both takeaways were found to contain peanut protein.

Kawsor Ahmed, owner of Fiza Spice, said he was not aware that any of his dishes contained peanuts until he was told by Trading Standards. He added he always ordered almond powder and trusted what was supplied.

The court was told that staff at Indian Spice were also unaware of the problem.

The substance used at the takeaways was actually a product called ground nut mix, made from peanuts, which are also called groundnuts.

David Travers QC, defending, asked whether the labelling of the peanut product with “ground nut” as two words could lead to it being mistaken for ground almonds.

But Singh Bhatoa, of P&B Foods Limited, which sold the nut mixture to Euro Foods, said almonds were more expensive than peanuts and anyone in the industry would recognise the price difference.


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