Indian rapped over peanuts in nut-free curry

An Indian restaurant served up a curry containing nuts '“ despite being asked not to by health inspectors.

Friday, 9th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 12th September 2016, 5:18 pm
The Lee Raj restaurant on Squires Gate Lane. It is now under new owners

The chicken tikka masala dish prepared at the Lee Raj Indian restaurant – which has since been sold to new owners – posed a grave risk to people with a peanut allergy, a court was told.

The premises on Squires Gate Lane, South Shore, also had dirty greasy equipment, mouldy fruit and vegetables and a cigarette end was found in the food preparation room.

Former owner, Shahida Chowdhury, 48, of The Cove, Cleveleys, pleaded guilty to nine offences of breaching food safety and hygiene laws.

Food inspectors test the temperature of lamb

She was fined £700 with £350 costs and ordered to pay £70 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Lynda Bennett, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, said inspectors sent the dish to analysts, who found it did contain peanuts.

The inspectors also found lamb and rice not kept at the right temperature, evidence workers had been smoking in the food preparation room, greasy floors and dirty equipment such as freezers, a poppadum container and flour scoop, mouldy tomatoes and onions and no hand towels at wash basins.

The prosecutor added that the premises were rated as zero - the lowest possible standard.

Food inspectors test the temperature of lamb

Steven Townley, defending, said his client was a mother-of-five, with one child who was autistic. Because of her family commitments she relied heavily on staff. She sold the Lee Raj in January.

New manager Shaker Khan said customers can now be assured nut-free dishes will be safe to eat.

He said: “In the last five months I’ve been trying to improve everything. If a customer has a problem, they can contact us and ask what is in a dish, but from next week they will be able to see what is in everything too.”

The restaurant has been working to bring standards up to scratch, has refurbished, and launched a gluten-free range, he added.

In May, Mohammed Zaman was jailed for six years for the manslaughter of a customer with a peanut allergy, after the chicken tikka masala he served contained had them in.

Paul Wilson, 38, died from a severe anaphylactic shock after eating at Zaman’s Indian Garden restaurant in Easingwold, North Yorkshire, in January 2014.

And earlier this year, The Gazette revealed how fast-firm firms were toying with people’s lives by ignoring strict new food laws.

As well Lee Raj’s failings, a number of Blackpool’s 280 takeaways were found selling ham and pineapple pizza that actually contained turkey, and lamb rogan josh that was actually beef.

The new law, which came from Europe in 2014, requires any business that serves food to clearly state if it contains any of 14 specific allegens, including gluten, fish, eggs, nuts, and milk, among others.

The law also covers schools, prisons, hospitals, workplace canteens, and places where food is given away for free, such as food banks and soup kitchens.

Around 6,000 people have food allergies in Blackpool.