The risks of unacknowledged ingredients in food products

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Product Liability on Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Last month, the Food Standards Agency issued an alert on their website regarding certain cumin products in the U.K. contaminated with almonds. This is believed to be due to a poor yield from the last year’s cumin crop in the Gujarat region in India, leading producers to substitute or bulk up their supplies with almonds.

According to the man who led a government inquiry into the 2013 horse meat scandal, the current situation could be more serious. Without identifying this on the packaging, the almonds are a risk to those with allergies who may unknowingly ingest it. Certain people may suffer illness and die because of serious allergies to the undeclared ingredients.

Two particular products suggested to include almonds are Barts cumin from the Barts Ingredients Company Ltd, and part of a Morrison’s fajita kit. The latter has since been withdrawn from stores. It is still not clear if anyone in the supply chain knew about the almond issue, and investigations are ongoing.

If it is determined that certain parties knew the products contained almonds without making this clear on the packaging, they would be liable for any preventable injuries sustained from ingesting the product. For example, an individual with a nut allergy who suffered an allergic reaction to the products might be able to pursue a civil claim and may receive compensation from the companies if the action is successful. A solicitor who if familiar with cases involving product liability may be able to help those who have suffered injury review the evidence and file the action in court.

Source: Yahoo! News, “Nuts-for-cumin swap can kill: fear,” 14 Feb. 2015

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