Published by BBC NEWS - 10th January 2024
  • Published
James AtkinsonImage source, FAMILY HANDOUT

A restaurant that prepared the food that led to the death of a man failed to complete food safety documents on allergens, an inquest heard.

James Atkinson, 23, died from a peanut allergy after eating pizza from Dadyal in Newcastle, on 10 July 2020.

Allergen sections of the restaurant’s food safety management documents were later found to be blank, an inquest into his death heard.

There is no evidence to suggest Mr Atkinson alerted staff to his allergy.

The 23-year-old, originally from Leeds, had ordered takeaway pizza from Dadyal via the Deliveroo app, and became unwell shortly afterwards.

Exterior of Dadyal Restaurant

Image source, Google

The inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre heard that the computer programmer died at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary an hour after ingesting peanuts.

Examination of the uneaten takeaway food also detected the presence of peanuts, as did analysis of a “nut mix” at the Dadyal restaurant which supplied it, the inquest was told.

An inspection of the restaurant after Mr Atkinson’s death showed that peanut powder had been used in the preparation of the chicken tikka masala pizza.

On Wednesday, environmental health officer Claire George told the hearing that the allergen section of Dadyal’s food safety management documents was blank.

Allergy diagnosis

Mr Atkinson’s flatmate, Luke Isley, previously gave evidence saying that the Newcastle University graduate had raised concerns about what he was eating as little as 30 seconds after beginning to eat his pizza, which sparked panic among his friends when he mentioned peanuts.

James Atkinson

Image source, FAMILY HANDOUT

By the time paramedics arrived, Mr Atkinson was “gasping for air”, according to Home Office pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton, who said he was “profoundly unconscious” by the time he was helped downstairs. He died in hospital less than an hour later.

Dr Bolton said Mr Atkinson had been diagnosed with a peanut allergy ten years ago and had been “very good” at monitoring the allergy.

Mr Atkinson’s parents, Jill and Stuart, said their son “had a gift of making others happy”, and they added that his death had left an “insurmountable hole” in their hearts.

The inquest, which is expected to conclude within two weeks, continues.

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