Astley boy, 12, died from nut allergy after eating takeaway curry

The Bolton News: Bolton Coroners Court Bolton Coroners Court

A MOTHER whose son died after suffering an allergic reaction to peanuts in a takeaway curry has warned people to take care when buying food.

Connor Donaldson died on October 19, last year, after suffering an acute asthma attack, brought on by an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts, an inquest heard.

Before his death, Connor, a pupil at Astley St Mary’s High School, had eaten part of a Prawn Balti curry at his home in Beechwood Crescent, Blackmoor, Astley.

In a statement, read at the inquest at Bolton Coroners Court, his mother, Sarah Donaldson, said although Connor had never been diagnosed with a nut allergy, she had always suspected he had one because she is allergic to nuts and she and her son shared other conditions such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.

She added that she was always careful to make sure Connor did not come into contact with nuts and when ordering the takeaway from Tyldesley Tandoori, in Elliott Street, had received assurances from staff on the phone that the Prawn Balti did not contain nuts.

The inquest heard that soon after eating the curry Ms Donaldson started feeling like she could not breathe and went for some fresh air.

Her statement continued: “When I sat back down Connor tapped me on the leg and said ‘mum, I can’t breathe either.”

Ms Donaldson called an ambulance and began to perform CPR on her son.

He was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital where staff tried to save his life.

Dr Vibha Sharma, a consultant in Paediatric Allergy at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, said that peanut was found in Connor’s stomach and blood tests suggested a potential allergy.

The inquest heard from Minhaz Ahmed, owner of the Tyldesley Tandoori takeaway who said that while the dish did not contain peanuts, a pre-made Balti sauce used in the dish did carry a warning that it may contain traces of nuts.

He said the warnings he issued to customers had changed as a result of Connor’s death.

Mr Ahmed added: “We now have a new menu and I have written ‘please be aware, may contain nuts’ on all my dishes.”

A police investigation ruled out criminal behaviour but an investigation by Wigan Council’s environmental health department is ongoing.

Environmental health officer, Varsha Patel, said: “On a routine inspection at the takeaway, we found staff had a poor knowledge of allergies and were using the same spoons in different dishes.”

She added there was another potential threat of cross contamination as an almond powder bought in by the takeaway and used in dishes such as Kormas, was found to contain 50 per cent peanuts.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, Bolton Coroner, Jennifer Leeming, said: “I think a lot of people don’t know about the risks presented by cross-contamination in premises where food is sold unsealed.

“Only a small amount of the allergen might be required to cause a tragedy like this — this should not happen to anyone and I am so sorry.”

Speaking after the inquest, Ms Donaldson added: “Be careful with what you are purchasing — I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

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