Parents of allergy girl tell food firms not to play ‘Russian roulette’

Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died after eating food from the Royal Spice Takeaway. Picture: Family handout/PA Wire
Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died after eating food from the Royal Spice Takeaway. Picture: Family handout/PA Wire
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The parents of a 15-year-old who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a takeaway have urged businesses not to “play Russian roulette” with lives, as two men were found guilty of her manslaughter.

Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died after eating food from the Royal Spice takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, on 30 December, 2016.

Yesterday, a jury at Manchester Crown Court found takeaway owner Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and manager Harun Rashid, 38, guilty of manslaughter by gross ­negligence.

Megan’s parents, Adam and Gemma Lee, called for food businesses to see the verdicts as a “warning” to improve their standards.

The two-week trial heard that Megan’s friend ordered the meal through the Just Eat website and wrote “prawns, nuts” in the comments and notes section.

But the meal – which included an onion bhaji, a seekh kebab and a Peshwari naan – was later found to have the “widespread presence” of peanut protein.

The two-week trial heard there was a “litany of failings” in the kitchen, including poor hygiene and no records of ingredients kept.

Mr Lee said: “Whilst we may have received some justice with today’s verdicts, we live in hope that today’s result is a warning to other food businesses operating in such a deplorable and ignorant manner to learn from this and improve their standards with immediate effect.”

He added: “Do not guess, do not play ignorant, do not play Russian roulette with precious lives.”

Megan died on 1 January, 2017 after suffering irreversible brain damage from an asthma attack.

Rashid, of Rudd Street, Haslingden, who had claimed he was merely a delivery driver at the restaurant at the time, was also found guilty of failing to discharge a general duty of employers, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act, and another count of failing to put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures in contravention of European Union food safety regulations.

Kuddus, of Belper Street, Blackburn, had already pleaded guilty to those two charges on behalf of himself and on behalf of Royal Spice Takeaway.

The men, who are both Bangladeshi nationals, made no comment as they left court on bail ahead of their sentencing on 7 November.

Judge Mrs Justice Yip told them: “You need to prepare yourselves for a custodial sentence.”