Street chains gave wrong information about deadly allergens | Society


Five of the largest chain restaurants and snack bars distributed false or misleading information about potentially fatal allergens to customers.

Disguised journalists working for the BBC visited a number of websites, where they presented themselves as clients with allergies. They said they received incorrect advice from the subsidiaries of Pizza Hut, Nando's and Frankie and Benny's as well as the cafes, Starbucks and Costa.

The investigation came after recent comments from a coroner who said he would write to the government over the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered an anaphylactic reaction after eating a sandwich from Pret to Manger who had no warning about allergens in their packaging.

The latest revelations, conveyed in an issue of the BBC's Watchdog Live program, prompted criticism from Rasel Shahid, whose sister Shahida died in 2015 after receiving a skim milk-marinated chicken burger despite telling restaurant staff she had dairy products. allergy.

"Shahida's death was totally preventable … If the buttermilk were labeled properly and correctly on the menu, Shahida would still be here today, so that would have been effective in getting the correct labeling," he told the show.

Reporters in disguise visited five branches of six restaurant chains and found that only Pizza Express provided clear and correct information on allergens at all times.

Frankie & Benny

On one branch, a journalist was incorrectly informed that a dish did not contain celery. In another, a reporter was asked to agree to the terms and conditions saying that the restaurant could never guarantee that a dish would be completely free of any allergen except gluten. The official told the BBC reporter that the form "saves our backs."

Its parent company said it was "deeply concerned" with the BBC report. "We fully understand the need for detailed food information and take our obligations seriously on allergens."

Coffee Coast

In one agency, the BBC reporter was incorrectly informed that a pie did not contain milk – despite a staff member consulting the shop's allergy book.

The company said: "At that time, the staff member did not follow the correct procedure and provided the wrong information. This is clearly unacceptable and we reissue the guidance and best practices for all stores. "

Pizza Hut

The allergy book was incomprehensible to the reporter and a staff member while trying to check whether two dishes contained or not mustard. Each was listed as containing the ingredient online.

A spokesman for Pizza Hut Restaurants said: "In this particular case, the information in the book provided was correct. But we took the feedback on board and added QR codes to our menu cards this week, which connect to all of our nutrition information. "


A reporter was wrongly told that a hamburger did not contain mustard before the information was corrected.

The company said its managers generally deal personally with clients with allergies. "As a matter of priority, we have since reminded all our employees of the processes in place and their importance."


A staff member initially said that a lemon bread cake, which contains almonds in the ingredients, did not contain nuts – before warning, there was still a risk of contamination by nuts.

Starbucks said safety was its highest priority. "In this case, we fall short of this commitment and do not meet our own high standards. We address this problem with our staff at the store in question and we are in touch with all of our stores in the UK to reinforce our standards and expectations. "


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