Teenager With Nut Allergy Died After Eating Takeaway Curry

18/09/2012 17:32 | Updated 22 May 2015
Takeaway curryAlamy

A student died after suffering an allergic reaction to the nut oil and ground nuts in a takeaway curry.

Emma Egerton, 18, who was described in the Mirror as a 'talented young artist', collapsed after taking only a mouthful of the chicken tikka korma she had ordered online for home delivery.

An inquest into her tragic death heard that the menu she had chosen from had not given her any indication that the meal contained nuts or nut oil.

Emma managed to dial 999 and leave her front door open for paramedics after realising she was having a reaction, but by the time they had arrived she was unconscious. She later died in hospital.

The young woman had suffered from hypersensitivity to nuts since she was five and knew that eating even a single one could kill her.

Her father John, a chief inspector with Greater Manchester Police, said that Emma was always very strict about her diet and avoided nuts and nut products.

"If we were ever at our local Indian they would always use a different pan to the other dishes and would cook it fresh for her," he said, "She was very, very careful. I took her to France once and she joked, asking me why I took her to the nut capital. We ended up eating salads the whole time because she wasn't confident the waiters had understood about her nut allergy."

"Her allergy was built into our routine, but with this condition you can be left playing Russian Roulette."

Teenager with nut allergy died after eating takeaway curryCavendish

The inquest heard that there is no legal requirement to put nut warnings on takeaway menus, but Coroner Joanne Kearsle said she would write to the Food ­Standards Agency to ­highlight Emma's case.

"We hear an awful lot about Food Standards and labels, and despite the fact these signs are required in restaurants, they aren't in takeaways," she said.

"Emma's death touched many people, from the paramedics that tried to save her, to the doctors, witnesses and not least, family and friends.

"She was an extremely talented artist. She was a young girl who throughout her life had been aware she had suffered a severe nut allergy.

"She said it was testament to her family's awareness and precaution to her condition that she never once used her Epipen."

Emma had ordered her curry from the Spice of India takeaway near her home in Sale, Manchester, via the Just Eat website, which displayed the menu online.

David Butress from Just Eat said that warning signs next to meals which contained nuts on menus was 'not obligatory' but said a review was now being carried out.

Allergy UK says that peanut and tree nut allergies are the most common food allergy in adults and children. Around seven people die from the condition every year.

Such a shocking waste of a young life - do you think it should be mandatory to list ALL ingredients on menus?


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