A Newcastle inquest hears of a young man's tragic death due to a peanut allergy after consuming a chicken tikka masala pizza. James Atkinson, a 23-year-old computer programmer and Newcastle University graduate, unknowingly faced his fatal allergen in a meal ordered through Deliveroo.
James, who brightened everyone's day and lived life to the full, as described by his parents, Stuart and Jill Atkinson, did not inform the restaurant of his peanut allergy,nor did he contact them directly. Instead, he relied on Google to check the ingredients of his order, which included a chicken tikka masala pizza. This decision, unfortunately, led to catastrophic consequences. This case underscores not only the need for transparency in restaurants and delivery services' allergen information but also highlights customers' responsibility to inquire directly about potential allergens in their food.
The inquest, resuming in Newcastle, revealed the dire sequence of events on July 10, 2020. After consuming part of the chicken tikka masala pizza, James immediately sensed something was wrong. Despite his efforts to find his EpiPen and call an ambulance, he rapidly deteriorated. His struggle for breath, captured in his own words to paramedics, underlined the severity of the situation.
Pathologist Jennifer Bolton confirmed that the cause of death was anaphylaxis following peanut ingestion. The analysis revealed a significant presence of peanuts in James's food, highlighting a critical gap in allergen information in online food orders. The absence of an EpiPen at the scene further diminished his chances of survival.
James's life, as remembered by his parents, was full of joy, humour, and caring for others. His sudden and preventable death underscores a profound need for improved allergen transparency and customer awareness in online food ordering systems.
As the inquest continues, it serves as a stark reminder of the potential risks associated with food allergies, especially when ordering online. It raises important questions about the responsibility of food delivery services, restaurants ensuring their customers' safety and customers' responsibility to inform businesses of their allergies.
We invite your thoughts on this tragic story. How can online food ordering platforms, restaurants, and customers work together to improve allergen safety? Share your views and ideas below to contribute to this crucial discussion on food allergy awareness.