Richmond restaurant fined £2.5k for selling dangerous nut curry

Raj Uddin Qureshi from the Taj Mahal Restaurant in Trinity Church Square, Richmond, was fined a total of £2,550. Credit: Google Maps

A restaurant owner in North Yorkshire has been fined for selling a curry that could have caused a life-threatening reaction if eaten by someone with a nut allergy.

Raj Uddin Qureshi from the Taj Mahal Restaurant in Trinity Church Square, Richmond, was fined a total of £2,550.

It followed a visit from Trading Standards when an inspector ordered a test purchase of a "no nut, no peanut" chicken tikka masala curry on 6 January 2022.

The food was analysed and a peanut protein was detected. It was found that the dish would have caused a person with an allergy to experience a reaction to the food.

Qureshi pleaded guilty to offences of selling food not of the substance demanded by the purchaser, and of placing on the market food which was unsafe and injurious to the health of a person with an allergy to peanuts.

He also pleaded guilty to the unfair practice of using a menu which falsely claimed the restaurant was rated 'very good' for food hygiene.

Following the visit from Trading Standards, the restaurant received a food hygiene inspection from Richmondshire District Council and was rated as 'Major Improvement Required'.

Qureshi was fined £500 for each of two food safety offences relating to the sale of the curry, £500 for each of two offences relating to the false food hygiene rating, and was ordered to pay a £50 victim surcharge and prosecution costs of £500.

A subsequent investigation found Qureshi failed to provide training to his staff regarding allergens and had no system of recording allergen information for foods sold by the business. 

North Yorkshire County Council's executive member for Trading Standards, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said: "The potential harm that could have come about had this food been ordered and consumed by a person with an allergy to peanuts is very real.

"There have been deaths as a result of undeclared food allergens. It is vital that food businesses take responsibility for complying with their legal responsibilities to ensure consumers are protected and can rely on the descriptions and claims given to them.

"I call on all businesses to review their practices regarding food allergens. It is not acceptable to put lives at risk."

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