Home > Case Studies > Breach of Contract - Supplying Food to Allergy Sufferer

Breach of Contract - Supplying Food to Allergy Sufferer

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 2 Oct 2012 |
 
Breach Of Contract - Supplying Food To Allergy Sufferer

A Sikh couple went to a wedding party held in August 2003. Mr. Bhamra, a research chemist, and his wife had travelled from Birmingham to Forest Gate in London to the Sikh wedding at the Ramgarhia Temple. Mr. Bhamra was allergic to eggs, and knew of his allergy. Egg allergies only affect 0.1% of the population, but as Sikhs do not eat eggs he considered that any of the food he would have eaten was safe. Eggs are strictly forbidden at Sikh temples, and the caterer knew this.

The Extra Food

Unfortunately, more people attended the wedding than had been expected, and as the guests swelled to over five hundred in number, the caterer realised that he was going to have to bring in extra food. The caterer, who was also a Sikh, sent out for extra supplies from external sources. One of the dishes supplied was ‘ras malai’, which is a dessert made of sugary balls of paneer soaked in clotted cream. The recipe for the dessert that was supplied, after the food began to run short, contained eggs.

The Allergic Reaction

Mr. Bhamra ate some of the ras malai, and had an allergic reaction. Although he had been prescribed adrenalin pens in the event of a reaction, he had not brought them with him to the wedding. He collapsed, fell into a coma and was admitted to hospital where he died three days later. He was forty nine years old. The case was brought on the basis of negligence:
  • that the caterer knew that no one would have expected any of the food would have contained eggs
  • that as the caterer he should have known that if he used external food suppliers some recipes for ras malai contained eggs

The County Court Case

The caterer who had supplied the ras malai denied that he had used another supplier to supply extra food. The court of appeal, however, found that he had done exactly this. The court also found that as a caterer he was aware that some recipes for ras malai contained eggs, but that it was not necessary for him to have issued warnings to the wedding guests because so few of the population suffer from the allergy. Some Sikh sects are vehemently against the consumption of meat and eggs, although they do eat milk, butter and cheese. The allergy sufferer had therefore been entitled to feel that there would not be any eggs in the food that was supplied at the wedding.

The Court of Appeal Case

The court of appeal upheld the original judgment at Oxford County Court, which was that the caterer was ordered to pay damages in the sum of £415,000 for negligently supplying food that contained eggs. As the caterer had appealed and because of the delay in time from the original incident to the court of appeal hearing, interest was awarded in the sum of £35,000.

Caterers, and others supplying services and goods to the public, have a duty of care to those that consume their products. This case highlights what can go wrong when that duty of care is not properly observed.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Kumar
    Re: What If I Don't Have a Written Contract With My Employer?
    Hi , I worked for 3 years for previous company( I am sacked now) . They have not given any…
    18 April 2019
  • Nogs
    Re: Contracts and Self Employment
    I am self employed gardener and have been working for the same school for over 12 years 3 days a week. Until they have reduced to…
    4 April 2019
  • Cstead
    Re: Contracts and Self Employment
    I’m self employed beauty therapist should I be responsible for my own insurance & who is responsible for risk assessment me or…
    1 April 2019
  • Mick1980
    Re: Breach of Contract
    ** Late ** in being paid. The QS was either sacked or quit and did not process our December Invoice for £25k.
    30 March 2019
  • Gal
    Re: Title Deeds: Who Keeps Them?
    I have a buyer for my mums house and we cannot find the deeds and it is not reg with the land reg. with have scgedulw of deeds and…
    28 March 2019
  • AlyMak
    Re: Employment Contracts Explained
    I am self employed and have been working for a self employed man that works for a top publishing company. It was agreed in June…
    25 March 2019
  • georgekennedy
    Re: The Law & Verbal Agreements
    My daughter, within the last three weeks has purchased a new motor car on finance. The car was purchased from an Arnold Clark…
    20 March 2019
  • Phil
    Re: Gym Contracts Explained
    Joined a leisure centre in the town I used to work because it was the same chain as another leisure centre in my town and the terms and…
    19 March 2019
  • Phil
    Re: Gym Contracts Explained
    Joined a leisure centre in the town I used to work because it was the same chain as another leisure centre in my town and the terms and…
    18 March 2019
  • Sub
    Re: Giving an Undertaking
    Hi. I hope some one can help me. My wife left with my son one day and took out a non molestation order on an ex parte basis against me. She…
    18 March 2019