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Boxer claims £300,000 after near fatal allergic reaction to a milkshake

The owners of a London café are fighting the amount of damages being claimed from them after failing to warn of nut allergens.

RGC Restaurants Ltd, owners of Campbell’s Canal Café in Camden, north London, were sued for £300,000 damages after a promising boxer had his career ended by a milkshake he bought there.

Allergy sufferer, Justyn Payne picked up a coconut milkshake after being told by staff that the drink was safe for someone with a nut allergy. In fact, the drink contained a substantial amount of cashew nut – more than 400 times the amount required for it to be labelled as containing allergens.

Justyn, who boxed for the London and England development teams and was a member of the Frank Bruno Boxing Academy, had an acute allergic reaction that caused him to have a heart attack. He was in an induced coma for five days and suffered a brain injury that effectively put an end to his career.

RGC who initially denied blame, dispute the amount of damages being claimed, describing it as only a ‘modest value claim’.

Diane Parker, head of personal injury, commented on the case: “Mr Payne was extremely fortunate to have survived such an acute reaction.

Restaurant staff don’t always take allergies seriously and may think a customer is just being a ‘fussy eater’ when they’re asked if food contains certain products. However, thousands of people are admitted to hospital each year after having an allergic reaction to something they ate.

This is precisely why the EU FIC Food Information for Consumers Regulations requires restaurants, cafes, takeaway’s etc, to notify customers if their products contain any of 14 known allergens, including peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy, molluscs and wheat.”

The High Court will determine whether the amount claimed by Mr Payne is a fair reflection of the likelihood that he would have had a career as a professional boxer, when the case goes to full trial in October.

Author: Gail Harris


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