Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant chain has been ordered to pay £8,000 and £9,000 costs after serving wheat to a customer suffering from coeliac disease, reports The Daily Mail.
Kristy Richardson, 38, told staff at Jamie’s Italian in Portsmouth, Hampshire, that she was allergic to gluten found in wheat, and would need to be served a gluten-free meal offered to her by the maître d’.
However, after a mix-up with the kitchen staff Ms Richardson was served regular wheat pasta, making her violently sick and sparking a legal action that has resulted in the popular chain being made to pay £17,000 in fines and costs.
Ms Richardson suffers from coeliac disease, an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the stomach when exposed to a protein (gliadin) found in wheat and wheat products, as well as in barley and rye.
The condition causes many symptoms, but principle among them is pain after eating wheat products, diarrhea, which can be bloody, and vomiting.
Ms Richardson, who suffers from a particularly acute form of the disease, told a court that she had asked staff at the restaurant three times to be sure that they served her gluten-free tagliatelle.
Jamie’s Italian were sued by Portsmouth Trading Standards after environmental health uncovered ‘lamentable failures’ in the way the restaurant handled food allergy matters.
Jamie’s Italian had initially claimed that the incident with Ms Richardson was the result of a terrible mistake, but last month they pleaded guilty to a charge of selling food not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser, a breach of section 14 (1) of the Food Safety Act 1990.
Ms Richardson settled her personal complaint with the chain out of court, and signed an agreement not to disclose the details of the settlement.
Counsel for the chain, Harry Vann, said that it was sorry for falling short of food safety standards.
“(Jamie’s Italian) takes this extremely seriously. It is a matter of very sincere regret to the company that any customer should suffer illness as a result of any meal served by us,” he said.
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