A Great Barrier Reef island resort has been fined $50,000 for serving a teenager with a nut allergy a dessert that caused a severe allergic reaction.
- The court heard the teenage girl was a risk of anaphylactic shock
- Her mother had told the resort chef she was allergic to nuts
- He promised a nut-free dessert but used a pre-packaged cake
Heron Island Resort pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to serving food it should have known would cause physical harm.
The court heard the 15-year-old girl was holidaying with her mother on the island, north-east of Gladstone and that her mother had discussed the girl’s nut allergy with the chef, who offered to make her a nut-free dessert.
He prepared a pre-packaged pear and raspberry cake that contained almonds and potentially other nuts.
The court heard the dish caused a major allergic reaction, including a tight throat and swelling of the face and lips, which took hours to bring under control, and required an EpiPen to be administered and a corticosteroid to be prescribed.
Without the treatment, prosecutors told the court the girl was at risk of anaphylactic shock.
‘Must not have read the packet’
Prosecutors told the court the resort’s dining facility had been issued a number of show-cause notices by Gladstone Regional Council for breaching food standards, both before and after the incident.
Magistrate Michael Quinn described the girl’s symptoms as “frightening” and said the standards at the remote resort needed to be higher.
He said the chef “must not have read the packet” and that this was a “clear, blatant, negligent human error”.
He noted that Heron Island Resort had made significant efforts to train its staff and change its systems since the incident.