Pret A Manger has been discovered not responsible of a meals security offence after a scholar suffered a extreme allergic response to a sandwich containing sesame.
Isobel Colnaghi checked the packaging on a curried chickpea and mango chutney merchandise on the agency’s store in Tub’s SouthGate purchasing centre in November 2017.
She is allergic to sesame and requested a member of employees if it was current within the sandwich.
The worker – Roberto Rodriguez – did not verify the shop’s allergen information, which might have confirmed the sandwich did include sesame, Bristol Crown Courtroom heard.
As an alternative, Mr Rodriguez allegedly checked a label on the fridge and instructed Ms Colnaghi – incorrectly – that sesame was absent.
After just a few bites of the sandwich, Miss Colnaghi started to really feel unwell and was taken by ambulance to the Royal United Hospital struggling with anaphylactic shock. She later made a full restoration.
Kate Brunner QC, prosecuting, alleged Pret A Manger’s “insurance policies, paperwork and coaching have been everywhere”.
She claimed the corporate needed to show it took “all affordable steps” to make sure employees consulted the allergen information earlier than advising prospects.
The barrister representing Pret A Manger, Jonathan Laidlaw, stated directions given to employees about allergen queries have been “easy and constant”.
Mr Rodriguez trying on the shelf fairly than the allergen information “amounted to an error by the server”, he added.
Mr Laidlaw additionally stated Pret A Manger’s allergen insurance policies in 2017 – which had been accepted by an area authority – went additional than regulatory necessities on the time.
The court docket heard Mr Rodriguez not labored for Pret A Manger, had left the UK, and solicitors had been unable to contact him since 2019.
Ms Brunner instructed jurors that in an account he gave to the corporate, Mr Rodriguez appeared to consider he was following the corporate’s procedures in the course of the incident.
However meals security professional Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight instructed jurors Mr Rodriguez was totally skilled and had acted outdoors of Pret A Manger’s allergen procedures.
“Apart from the failure of the employees member to discuss with the allergen information, the system was sound and compliant,” she stated.
She additionally referred to the corporate’s coaching as “gold commonplace” and stated it made allergen info “simply accessible” to prospects and employees.
Pret A Manger (Europe) Ltd denied one cost of promoting meals not of the substance demanded, opposite to Part 14 of the Meals Security Act 1990.
A jury acquitted the corporate following a trial lasting every week.
Talking after the decision, a spokeswoman for Pret A Manger stated: “We welcome the court docket’s choice in relation to this incident in 2017.
“At Pret we proceed to do every thing we are able to to assist prospects with allergy symptoms and in 2019, we grew to become the primary food-to-go enterprise to introduce full ingredient labels on all freshly made merchandise.
“We stay 100% dedicated to the actions we set out within the Pret Allergy Plan, so that each buyer has the data they should make the suitable alternative for them.
“We want Ms Colnaghi all the perfect for the longer term.”