Bakery business fined for failure to label allergens

A woman was left hospitalised after consuming a carrot cake which had not been labelled as containing peanuts.

Food businesses in the ABC Borough are now being urged to step up their vigilance and awareness of food allergens for both staff and customers after the firm was fined in court for mislabelling a cake which contained peanuts.

MM Home Bakery Ltd received fines totalling £1,750 for the offences which came before Banbridge magistrates sitting in Newry.

The Fermanagh-based company entered guilty pleas to two charges; that it had placed unsafe food (Frosted Carrot Cakes) on the market and that they falsely described the food for sale.

The case against the company was brought by Armagh City & Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council after a woman purchased the cake in the borough in March 2023, and immediately suffered an allergic reaction and was taken to the A&E unit in hospital for treatment. The lady made a full recovery.

The court heard that the business had changed the recipe of the cake to contain peanuts in 2021 but had not changed their label and continued to sell the mislabelled cake for two years.

A spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council said the case was a stark reminder of the dangers posed by allergens and said officers in their Environmental Health department were working hard to raise awareness among local companies.

“Food allergies is something which we should all take very seriously and it’s vital that food businesses take every precaution to ensure their products are properly labelled,” said the spokesperson.

“As a council, we work closely with food businesses on matters of food safety and last year we held a series of seminars on food allergies, which were attended by 116 businesses across the borough.

“All businesses involved with preparing and selling food need to be able to identify and manage allergenic ingredients as well provide effective communication about allergens to both the consumers and staff members.”