Parents of Leeds man who died after eating takeaway pizza apply for food labeling

The parents of a 23-year-old man who died of a suspected severe allergic reaction after ordering pizza are calling for better allergen displays to be put on take-out boxes.

James Atkinson died on July 10, 2020 after ordering take-out pizza from the Dadyal restaurant in Newcastle, according to Leigh Day, his family’s lawyers.

Mr Atkinson, from Leeds, had a known allergy to peanuts and his family have been told he may have suffered a serious allergic reaction.

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A pre-inquest into his death is due to open at Newcastle Coroners Court on Tuesday.

Gulfam Ulhaq, who is believed to have owned the restaurant, told the BBC in 2020 the order was placed online via Deliveroo and the website had “very clear” information about allergens and food hygiene.

James Atkinson, who died of a suspected severe allergic reaction after ordering pizza at Dadyal restaurant in Newcastle

At the time, Dadyal’s “restaurant notes” section contained a “cross-contamination notice” for peanuts, Deliveroo sources said.

Mr Atkinson’s parents, who said their son was ‘conscientious’ about checking ingredients, want clearer allergen displays to prevent a similar incident happening to anyone else.

His father Stuart told The Sunday Times: “We would like to see a simple system where a tick box appears before you place the order – do you have an allergy, yes or no? If you tick yes, you are asked to contact the restaurant by phone.

“Allergy information is still hidden. It has to be up front. »

Her mum Jill added: ‘What everyone needs is a clear and complete list of ingredients on every item on a take-out menu and a sticker on the take-out box indicating the allergens that ‘it contains. We’ll never know if it would have saved James, but it might have… we just don’t want that to happen to another family.

Mr Atkinson moved to study computer science at Newcastle University and after graduating he stayed in the town where he lived with friends.

The Atkinson family is represented by Thomas Jervis, partner at Leigh Day. They instructed solicitors Craig Hassall QC and Helena Spector of Park Square Barristers Chambers.

They are raising funds for their case through CrowdJustice.

The restaurant was immediately suspended from Deliveroo in July 2020 following the death of Mr Atkinson, but remained on other food platforms, until environmental health officials and police confirmed it could again trade later that month.

Neither Deliveroo nor the delivery man were suspects in the case, sources said.

Deliveroo invites customers to contact restaurants directly to inquire about ingredients and cooking methods, which are displayed in the “restaurant info” section, and its “allergens, hygiene rating and more” section, which are at the top of its menus.

Restaurants can also add allergen notes to display under each product. For restaurants where menus and ingredients change regularly, staff are encouraged to be trained to answer allergy questions over the phone.

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), food companies must inform their customers if the products they supply contain ingredients from a list of 14 allergens.

He adds that takeaways must make allergen information available before purchasing and delivering food.

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: “This is a tragedy and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the young man who so sadly passed away.

“Deliveroo has been in contact with the police, who have confirmed that the company acted correctly at all times and continues to fully comply with this investigation. The company will cooperate fully with the coroner’s inquest and share all requested information by the coroner.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to help this investigation and our thoughts are with everyone involved.”

Mr Ulhaq told the BBC in 2020: ‘I was really shocked when the police told me he was dead and only 23. It’s very, very sad. We are all in shock.

Dadyal has been contacted for further comment.

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Edward L. Robinett