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Aussie Restaurant Fined $100,000 After Customer Died After Eating Hummus

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Aussie Restaurant Fined $100,000 After Customer Died After Eating Hummus

A man has died from an allergic reaction after eating hummus at an Australian restaurant.

Nathan Anderson joked about his allergies when he arrived at the Samaras Lebanese and Mediterranean Restaurant in Wollongong back in 2017.

The server said they would be able to accomodate Anderson's dietary requirements, which prevented him from eating anything with peanuts, shellfish, eggs and sesame seeds.

The NSW Supreme Court heard the server, who is also the restaurant owner's daughter, didn't pass on all those requirements to the kitchen staff.

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While she stopped sesame seeds from being included on the rest of the food, she forgot hummus contained sesame seed paste or tahini and served Anderson a plate of it for his entree.

The victim described feeling discomfort after a few bites and decided to get up and go to his accomodation to get his epipen.

He didn't make it more than 150 metres from the restaurant before he collapsed and died. Paramedics were called, however they were unable to stop the allergic reaction in time.

During the investigation, the restaurant claimed it was fully booked the night of the incident and the server was not only pregnant but also was sick.

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However, the Supreme Court ruled that none of those excuses mitigates the restaurant's requirement to keep customer's allergies as a top priority.

Justice Clifton Hoeben took issue with the eatery's informal allergen procedure and said staff didn't have a proper plan for dealing with allergen and food safety management.

He did note the restaurant's policy had been effective up until this incident.

The server also issued an emotional apology during the trial.

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"I will never be apologetic enough for the stupid mistake I made that night," she told the court.

"Finding out about the passing of Anderson would have to have been one of the worst and definitely the hardest moments of my life."

The court also heard Anderson did not follow the advice for dealing with an allergic reaction, which is to stay seated and remain calm.

An allergy expert said: "Sadly (the deceased's) own actions (standing up, walking fast in an attempt to secure an epi-pen that he didn't carry), aggravated the reactions' severity."

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The restaurant was fined $105,000 and ordered to pay the prosecutor's costs, as well as ensure all staff receive better training over revised allergy procedures.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Food, Australia

Stewart Perrie
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