Restaurateur Convicted of Manslaughter Following Death of Customer With Severe Peanut Allergy
Paul Wilson, 38, was so severely allergic to peanuts that just the scent alone could trigger a reaction. In January 2014, when he ordered chicken tikka masala at a U.K. restaurant owned by Mohammed Zaman, he was very specific about his dietary limitations. But the sauce — which was supposed to be nut-free — was actually a cheaper version made with peanuts. Wilson immediately went into anaphylactic shock and died before he could get medical attention. Today, the court has convicted Mohammed Zaman of manslaughter and sentenced him to six years in prison.
“If you ignore your responsibilities and regulations and put lives at real risk then we will not hesitate to prosecute,” prosecutor Martin Goldman told reporters. “He valued profit over safety.”
This is not the first food safety offense Zaman has faced: Less than a month before Paul Wilson died, another customer was hospitalized for similar allergy misinformation. Following this first incident, a food safety officer visited the restaurant and told Zaman he had to be honest with his customers about peanuts, tree nuts, and other allergens. Despite warnings, Zaman continued to utilize cheaper ingredients in favor of making sure his food was safe for consumption.
“You have done so in such a manner as to bring about the death of another individual,” Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said in a closing statement. “Paul Wilson was in the prime of his life. He, like you, worked in the catering trade. He, unlike you, was a careful man."