Restaurant apologises after boy hospitalised with allergic reaction

The Ingham Swan in north Norfolk has re-opened after a devastating fire in 2017. Picture: Neil Didsb

A boy was taken to hospital with an allergic reaction after eating at the Ingham Swan near Stalham. - Credit: Archant

An eight-year-old boy was taken to hospital after suffering an allergic reaction at a Norfolk restaurant - despite his family being told the food would be safe for him to eat.

The owner of the Ingham Swan has apologised for the incident - which saw the boy go into anaphylactic shock after eating a mouthful of chocolate mousse - and said that a member of staff has been dismissed.

Norfolk County Council's Trading Standards said it had given the venue advice on how its procedures could be improved to avoid any similar incidents in the future. 

The incident happened on Saturday (May 14) when the boy was eating a meal with his family at the restaurant near Stalham.

His grandfather David Moss said that when making the booking over the phone he had informed staff his grandson had a nut and egg allergy.

"They assured me they could deal with his allergies and the chef would adapt and advise what he could eat safely from the menu," Mr Moss said.

During the meal the waitress assured them each of the courses were safe, he said, but then he was served a chocolate mousse containing egg.

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"Within a minute he went into anaphylactic shock and started vomiting," Mr Moss said.

The boy's father took him to where they were staying and gave him medication before calling the ambulance.

A community first responder and an ambulance attended the scene and took the boy to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston for further assessment and treatment.

Mr Moss said his grandson was kept there until 2am.

"We put our trust in them and they failed us miserably. It was a traumatic event for the whole family," he added.

Daniel Smith, owner and head chef at the Ingham Swan.Picture: James Bass.

Daniel Smith, owner and head chef at the Ingham Swan.Picture: James Bass. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

Daniel Smith, co-owner of the Ingham Swan, which features in the 2022 Michelin Guide, said: "I sincerely apologise to the family. We're not happy about what happened. 

"On this occasion, a member of staff did not follow the systems and processes and has been dismissed."

He said the restaurant will implement a new policy requiring guests with allergies to order all three courses at the beginning of their meal. 

"In 12-and-a-half years of business it’s never happened before and we never want it to happen again," Mr Smith said.

The issue of food venues applying the correct procedures for allergies has been in the spotlight since the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, after eating a sandwich from Pret A Manger in 2016.

An inquest into Natasha's death heard the artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette the teenager ate contained sesame - to which she was allergic.

Sophie Leney, head of Trading Standards, said of the incident at the Ingham Swan: “This distressing case shows how allergic reactions to food can be very serious. It is vital that businesses have appropriate allergen management systems in place and that these are followed. 

“Norfolk Trading Standards routinely works with businesses to ensure that they have systems and procedures in place to comply with the regulations and prevent allergen incidents. In all cases where an issue has been reported, we will visit the premises to ensure they have appropriate processes in place and staff are working to them.

“Norfolk Trading Standards has inspected the business where this incident occurred and given clear advice and the business has taken action to improve its procedures.”

'Making food allergies history'

The incident at the Ingham Swan comes as the parents of a teenager who died from an allergic reaction to a Pret baguette have set up a ground-breaking trial with the aim of "making food allergies history".

Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse launched the trial to investigate whether commonly available peanut and milk products, taken under medical supervision, can be used as a treatment for people with food allergies.

The couple lost their 15-year-old daughter Natasha in 2016 after she suffered a severe allergic reaction to sesame in a Pret baguette.

The new oral immunotherapy (OIT) trial will look at whether everyday foods can be used to provide treatment for people with allergies.

Last year, the NHS backed Palforzia, a treatment to reduce the severity of reactions to peanuts. Patients receive a monthly dose, enabling tolerance to be carefully built over time.