STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
New Law Incarcerates Restaurant Owner For Customer Allergy
By Daily Bell Staff - May 24, 2016

Curry house owner jailed for six years after customer dies from nut allergy … Paul Wilson’s parents Margaret and Keith said he loved curry but was always clear with staff about his allergy, asking for his meals not to contain any peanuts … Businesses have been warned to take allergies seriously after a restaurateur was imprisoned for six years for killing a customer by selling him a curry containing peanuts. -Sydney Morning Herald

This is a very sad story about a young man who died after eating peanuts in an Indian dish.

He tried to make sure that the dish he ordered didn’t have peanuts, but it did.

Now the owner of the restaurant, Mohammed Zaman, 53, has been convicted of manslaughter because of Paul Wilson’s death.

Under a new law, he is responsible for Wilson’s death.

More:

Mr Wilson, who was meticulous about his condition, had asked for a chicken tikka masala with “no nuts” but his takeaway curry from the Indian Garden in Easingwold, North Yorkshire, was cooked with a groundnut mix containing peanuts.

Police and prosecutors said the case sent a very clear message to the catering industry.  Martin Goldman, chief crown prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “If you ignore your responsibilities and regulations and put lives at real risk then we will not hesitate to prosecute.”

A jury at Teesside Crown Court heard how Zaman, who had run up £294,000 ($589,000) debts in his six restaurants in North Yorkshire, was cutting costs by using cheaper ingredients and employing untrained, illegal workers. The prosecution said the owner had “put profit before safety”.

We can see the British government is very serious about this new law. But unfortunately such laws seem to work after-the-fact, if they work at all.

In fact, there’s no real evidence that we know of regarding the effect punishments have on people. We’ve read for instance that the death penalty doesn’t discourage people who want to commit murder.

Many believe that putting people in prison may make them less likely to commit a crime in the future, but statistical evidence shows just the opposite.

Even several hundred years ago, penal systems were quite modest. It is the explosion of modern central banking, and all the currency it produces, that has allowed modern penal systems to grow to grotesque sizes.

Importantly, state mandated punishments tend to remove the private sector from the business of surveillance.

For instance, less than a month before Mr Wilson’s death a young woman had an allergic reaction after eating a chicken korma from a Zaman-owned restaurant.  She was saved with an injection of adrenaline.

But Wilson apparently didn’t know about her.

A “trading standards officer” visited the restaurant just a week prior to Wilson’s death and found peanuts in a peanut-free dish.

The staff was warned that they needed to tell all customers they used peanuts.

But Wilson wasn’t warned.

We can see that neither supervision of the restaurant nor a new law that says all businesses must provide specific details of allergenic ingredients helped save Wilson.

Meanwhile, putting Zaman in jail has probably doomed his restaurants and hurt his family.

It hasn’t brought Wilson back to life.

Conclusion: If there were fewer laws and less prosecution, the private sector might be more aggressive about deterring bad practices.  At the very least, people would not feel a false sense of protection and presumably would adjust their behaviors accordingly.

Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
  • Misanthropus

    Saying “no nuts” is the wrong thing to say since peanuts are legumes, not nuts.

    • rogersan

      Veeehhhrrreee Niiiccceee

  • Disingenuous

    The guy is $600,000 in debt and is “putting profit ahead of safety” ? Those statements were back to back. I like that. What a puzzle. I wonder what the costs involved in starting a restaurant in UK or even just hiring a ‘legal’ employee? Could those be hurdles to providing a good quality service?

    I’m sure the six restaurants are definitely closer to being shuttered now. I wonder what new regulations will be thought up to encumber the restaurant industry under the guise of making it safer?

    I wonder why Mr. Wilson wasn’t supplied with ample epi-pens from the Healthcare system? Where was the universally available UK Healthcare system?

    I’ll go back to sleep now.

    • rogersan

      Have to think….6 restaurants with the owner locked up. I would be willing to bet they are all shuttered shortly with the workers on the dole now.

  • Pedestrian

    The widespread peanut allergy in the West is probably caused by the use of peanut oil as an adjuvant in childhood and other vaccines. An adjuvant is used to provoke a more powerful immune reaction in the recipient, making the vaccine more “effective”. Avoid vaccinations and avoid many allergies and harms. Learn about natural medicine instead. Peanut allergy is still virtually unknown in Asia and many parts of the world, as it was in the West before 1900. The epidemic became manifestly worse in the 1970’s and particularly since the 80’s and 90’s coinciding with the vastly increased vaccine schedule. The real culprit in “putting profit ahead of safety” is the pharma industry, not the local restaurateur.

    • Incredible. Thanks.

    • Jorge

      The root cause of peanut allergies might be Big Phama, but the proximate cause of Paul Wilson’s death was Zaman’s reckless negligence.
      If I were Wilson’s parents, I might try to hold both Zaman and Big Pharma liable in torts.
      The question that the Daily Bell staff raise here is: at what point should civil liability become criminal? John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute likes to say that every adult in the U.S. now commits three federal crimes each day.

  • Ernie Hopkins

    Good points Pedestrian. Thanks!!!

  • mary

    Seems to me that the responsibility should be mostly on the customer. Our daughter is allergic to mangos. When she goes to restaurant where there’s mango on the menu, she has a conversation with the waiter explaining that she is very allergic and that even cutting a mango on the same cutting board as preparing her food will cause her a reaction. She also carries anti-histamines with her at all times. Her allergies so are not so severe to cause anaphylacitc shock, but anyone with a peanut allergy knows that is possible for them and life threatening. Why the guy didn’t carry an epi pen with him is beyond understanding and is 100% his responsibility, not the restaurant’s.

    The shifting of blame in this situation sounds like a meme to me. 😉 We’ve certainly seen it throughout western culture.

  • Christopher Victor Pringle

    issue is the gene pool does not have a life guard – man was an idiot or a simpleton/thrill seeker – judge must have been insane

  • Pilgrim

    I’m going to get a zillion thumbs-down, but here goes anyway.

    Liberty requires responsibility. If everybody acted out of an inner conviction of ethics, they wouldn’t violate anybody else’s God-given rights and the need for government would naturally diminish.

    Liberty is often interpreted as the right to do anything you want, and if someone is a victim of a bad actor, C’est la vie!

    No, it’s not C’est la vie, it’s shame on you! Compensation is due! Restitution is the foundation of our Republic. Liberty demands justice.

    Imho when medical treatment is rendered for a malady directly attributed to something intended and marketed for human consumption, the cost of that treatment should be transferred to the maker of the product.

    Now here’s what most people will disagree with: It should be solely on the word of the person harmed. They shouldn’t have to get a lawyer and sue, etc. only the cost of treatment, and solely on their word that they were harmed.

    The net result would be higher costs for products that do the most harm, and low cost on products that do no harm.

    Ok, let the thumbs-down begin.

  • olde reb

    With the present state of society, I wonder if Eve would have been prosecuted for giving Adam that apple.

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