Coffee shop fined after making life-threatening blunder over selling 'nut free' cookies in Milton Keynes

The Out of Office Coffee House in Newport Pagnell
The Out of Office Coffee House in Newport Pagnell

Supplying 'nut free' cookies that actually contained pecan nuts has cost a coffee shop in Newport Pagnell a total of £9,970 in fines.

MK Council prosecuted the Out of Office Coffee Shop Limited after the life-threatening blunder, which could have proved fatal to someone with a nut allergy.

MK magistrates heard how a family visited the high Street shop on 4 November 2017 and asked staff if any of the food products on sale were nut-free as one of the children has a nut allergy.

They were advised by staff that the oatmeal and cranberry cookie did not contain any nuts.

However, after buying one of the cookies the father of the boy noticed pieces of nut in it.

"Fortunately on this occasion the child did not consume any of the cookie however a complaint was made following the incident to MK Council’s Trading Standards team who then visited the premises," said a council spokesman.

"During this visit Trading Standards officers were also told that the oatmeal and cranberry cookie was ‘nut free’. Later analysis showed that it contained traces of pecan nuts," she added.

Out of Office Coffee Shop pleaded guilty to two offences under the Food Safety Act 1990. The company was fined a total of £6,800 and ordered to pay £3000 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170.

Sue Crawley, MK Council’s Trading Standards Team Leader, said “On two occasions a potentially life-threatening situation has been avoided thanks to the vigilance of the parents and by our officers.”

She added; “If you are selling food as nut free you have a legal duty to ensure that it is 100% nut free because it could have had very serious health consequences or even be fatal for people with a nut allergy.

“The sentence from the court sends a clear message to all food retailers so that they give accurate information about allergenic ingredients and make sure labels describe the food clearly and properly.”

“We will investigate and take appropriate action to ensure that food businesses comply with the law.”

Fears of nut allergy sufferers being sold wrongly labelled products have escalated over the past couple of months following the tragic story of 15-year-old Nataseha Ednan-Laperous, who died after eating a Pret A Manger sandwich before a flight to Nice.

Two million Brits with diagnosed food allergies.