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Restaurant fined after guest suffers allergic reaction to canapés

The operator of Hipping Hall in Cumbria has been slapped with a £16,000 fine after the best man at a wedding hosted at the country house hotel went into anaphylactic shock due to nuts in the canapés.

The Cowan Bridge hotel restaurant, which was operated by Casterton Leisure Limited, opened in 2004. It also appeared as one of the fine dining establishments in the 2010 series of The Trip, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. In July of this year, Hipping Hall ceased operating and is now seeking a buyer (willing to spend the £3 million it is valued at).

The incident took place in December 2021. The venue was informed that two guests were allergic to nuts and one was allergic to peanuts specifically, however it then proceeded to serve canapés to the wedding party that contained nuts. The best man, who was one of those who made the restaurant team aware of his allergy, then suffered from a severe anaphylactic shock.

According to data from allergy awareness charity Anaphylaxis, one in 50 children and one in 200 adults in the UK have a nut allergy.

Appearing in Blackpool Magistrates’ Court last week, Casterton Leisure Limited pleaded guilty to one offence under The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

Casterton Leisure Limited were fined £16,000 plus victim surcharge of £190 and ordered to pay costs of £7,071.41.

Passing sentence, district judge John McGarva remarked that what should have been a happy day for the wedding guests was blighted by the incident, and that there was a real risk of death for the affected guest.

Lancaster city councillor Joanne Ainscough, cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health and enforcement, said: “All businesses have a fundamental duty to their customers to ensure that the food they provide is safe to eat. This includes catering for those with allergies, intolerances or coeliac disease.”

Related reading:

Reported rates of food and drink allergies rise amidst the pandemic

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