Pamela Bradshaw | Associate

Allergic Reactions: Is there ever a basis for a claim?

Currently it is estimated that around two million people in the UK suffer from a food allergy. Recent statistics confirm that of these two million people, around 5,000 people are hospitalised each year due to an allergic reaction to something that they have eaten.

The most common foods to cause an allergic reaction are wheat, dairy products, peanuts and seafood. People suffering from an allergic reaction can suffer a variety of symptoms, including a rash, stomach pain and facial swelling. In more severe cases, a person may go into anaphylactic shock. This can be life threatening.

It is unfortunately common for restaurants, shops and takeaways to give misleading information about the ingredients contained within their products. Is it therefore possible for someone who has suffered from an allergic reaction to food that they have purchased to bring a food allergy compensation claim?

In short, the answer is yes. Anyone who has suffered an allergic reaction as a result of misleading information is eligible to make a claim. An individual has three years from the date of the incident within which to make such a claim.

The Food Information for Consumers Regulations came into force in December 2014. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that allergy sufferers can find out about the presence of any allergenic ingredients.

There are 14 main food allergens that restaurants, takeaways and shops must now warn customers about. These are:

Celery

Cereals containing gluten

Crustaceans (prawns, lobster, crabs, crayfish)

Molluscs (Clams, mussels, whelks, oysters, snails and squid)

Eggs

Fish

Milk

Lupin

Mustard Seed

Sesame Seeds

Soy Beans

Nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts etc)

Peanuts

Sulphur Dioxide

If the food is pre-packed and contains any of the allergens listed above then they must be clearly stated on the food label.

If the food is prepared in a restaurant or takeaway then details of the allergens may be written on menus or explained verbally by staff.

If pre-packaged food or a restaurant/takeaway fail to advise of the allergens contained in the product and someone falls ill, then the manufacturer/restaurant/takeaway can be held liable for the allergic reaction that has taken place.

What would you have to prove?

To be successful in a claim for an allergic reaction you would have to be able to prove:

– The food you consumed contained a known allergen

– There was no appropriate allergy warning

– That you suffered an allergic reaction as a result of ingesting that food

What if I didn’t tell anyone about my allergy?

Any food seller must warn of the presence of the 14 major allergens listed above regardless of whether someone notifies them of an allergy.

If you are allergic to a different ingredient that does not fall within the 14 major allergens then you are under a duty to advise the food seller/provider of your allergy. This may make it more difficult when bringing a claim.

If you have suffered an allergy as a result of the failure of a food seller to advise of the allergens contained within a product then you may be eligible to make a claim. For more information, click here to contact us online or call our specialist team on 0333 222 1855

 

Pamela Bradshaw

Pamela Bradshaw

Personal Injury Team

“Meeting people at a difficult time in their lives, getting to know them and helping them to get something positive out of the circumstances they find themselves in is the most rewarding part of my job.”

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