A business owner from Gloucester admitted five offences of misleading customers and putting their health at risk.
Mohammad Nizamul Islam, owner of Texas Grill Fast Food Limited in Park End Road, Gloucester, sold a kebab containing milk despite a milk allergy being declared and also advertised a false food hygiene score.
Islam, aged 30, appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 7 April 2021 following an investigation by Gloucestershire trading standards officers and pleaded guilty to the charges.
He was fined £450, ordered to pay £1,000 towards costs and a victim surcharge of £45.
On 2 December 2019, a trading standards officer posing as a customer ordered a plain lamb donner kebab over the telephone, making it clear to the person taking the order that they had a milk allergy and the business confirmed a plain donner would be ok.
After collecting the kebab, officers carried out an inspection of the premises and discovered that the kebab meat sold had been bought by the business and was still in its original packaging which clearly stated it contained milk.
The kebab was sent for formal examination and the results confirmed that not only did the kebab contain significant levels of milk protein, but also that it consisted mainly of beef and chicken with some lamb fat.
Milk is one of the 14 known allergens in food considered to present a significant risk to people with allergies. In total 231 fatalities have been recorded from food allergens in the UK from 1998 to 2019, with milk appearing third on the list behind peanuts and sesame.
The trading standards officers also saw that the shop showed a food hygiene sticker giving a rating of three, which was for ‘generally satisfactory food hygiene’.
However environmental health officers from Gloucester City Council confirmed that it had been given a food hygiene score of one at its last two inspections, meaning ‘major improvements needed’.
Karen Smith, Head of Gloucestershire Trading Standards, said: “This business acted in a highly irresponsible manner by selling a kebab containing milk despite being told the customer had a milk allergy. These actions can put customers’ health at risk and failing to show the correct food hygiene score was also misleading.
“This conviction shows that offenders will not get away with it and we will take action to bring them before the courts.”