Jump to content
  • Sign Up
  • Join Our Community!

    Get help in our celiac / gluten-free forum.

  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Jamie's Italian Pays $12,000 Fine for Serving Regular Pasta To Customer With Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo: Wikicommons - Really Short.

    Celiac.com 06/20/2013 - A restaurant owned by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been fined over $12,000 after a customer with celiac disease was sickened by eating regular pasta, instead of gluten-free pasta she was supposed to receive.

    Photo: Wikicommons - Really Short.The fine resolves a complaint brought by 38-year-old Kristy Richardson, who dined in 2011 at Jamie's Italian in Porstmouth, U.K. Richardson suffers from celiac disease.

    According to reports in the Telegraph, Richardson asked three different staff members to make sure she received gluten-free pasta, but she somehow received regular pasta. As a result, she became "violently ill," with nausea and vomiting that lasted for days and which left her weak for months, according to news reports.

    This in itself might be bad enough for most people, but, at the time, Richardson was on a waiting list for a heart and lung transplant. According to reports in the Sun, her gluten-triggered illness was so severe that her doctors temporarily removed her from that list; potentially depriving her of a transplant opportunity.

    Richardson complained, authorities became involved, charges were filed, and the restaurant eventually pleaded guilty to "selling food not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by a purchaser," according to the Telegraph.

    The fine is in addition to the nearly $4,000 previously awarded to Richardson in a civil case over the matter. What do you think? Should restaurants be fined if their gluten-free food contains gluten. Does it matter whether it makes people sick?


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    I wish that restaurants didn't try to have a gluten free option. I would rather they were ignorant. Then I could educate when I went in. As it is everyone thinks they understand. Servers half listen and then communicate to the cook/chef who also half listen. Then I get sick. They do not understand the difference between diet and disease. A server actually said to me, "this gluten craze is absurd. it is all in people's heads" I gave the guy a big tip, a piece of my mind. I didn't eat there. I went back to asking for the manager again. This is still the best way to increase your chances of safe food. Sorry to this hear this happened at such a good restaurant. I think the server should be held accountable. Food safety starts with them.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This is a truly tragic case but I'm not sure you can eat out at a restaurant and completely be free of the risk of human error. I would hate to see a lot of law suits against restaurants for fear no one would serve gluten free food. However, the seriousness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance needs to be front and center in the food service industry. I think a bigger health risk for most celiacs is the small amount of gluten we are getting in processed foods due to cross contamination. I can't count the times I have reacted to a supposedly gluten free product.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    If a restaurant cannot guarantee their gluten-free menu items to be completely gluten-free, they shouldn't offer them! I think fining the restaurants can be a way to drive home the importance, and seriousness of the issue!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Gluten and dairy and sulfur free - I suffer analphalaxis when I eat sulfur - only takes a couple of restaurants to get it wrong (and they have) before you start to go INTO the kitchen, talk to the chef and tell him/her that I will DIE if they mess up - I am 49 years old - and have lived successfully with this for over 20 years - people are really good when they know its life or death - so make sure that they 'get how serious it is! (take my own food everywhere anyway... never travel without gluten free solutions (message me if you want some awesome pointers)

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This is a good eye opener. How about some easy ways to tell if the pasta is gluten-free? On the menu, inform the consumer: all of our gluten-free pasta is infused with spinach to give it a distinct green tone. If you are served pasta that isn't this color, please let your server know. Something like that could help. When it all looks alike, it's difficult for everyone.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The fines were minimal and would hardly make a dent in the restaurant's profits. The adverse publicity, on the other hand, could have a huge impact. I think this should be a headline story because it's actually a case of deliberate poisoning/physical abuse. TV journalists/Newspaper Editors -- are you listening?!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Personally, I think this is horrible. As a person who cannot have gluten or casein, I fully understand that by eating out I am taking a ris . Always. If she was in such precarious health that being 'glutened' in a restaurant (their mistake or not) could cause her such harm, why take that risk? She isn't to blame for this mistake, of course, but it is unreasonable, imo, for all restaurants to now fear serving any gluten-free food to their clientele. Seems like a step backwards, not forwards for the gluten-free community.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I have to agree with Sue: there is always a risk. Even eating regular food, you never know if you'll come home with a case of food poisoning (gluten-free related or not). I was once accidentally served regular pizza when I ordered gluten-free pizza. It was OBVIOUS there was something wrong with my pizza - way too puffy. They let us keep it and brought me the correct one (nice and flat). Visually, gluten-free pasta looks different too. I think both are at fault, she should have perhaps, as mentioned, talked directly to the chef and realized there IS a difference between regular pasta and gluten-free pasta - visually. But also, the restaurant needs to educate the staff better. I would hate to also see start turning into a some sue happy situation. It only takes one before others start jumping on the band wagon for the same reason.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Restaurants should not try and serve "gluten-free" food! I never eat out because the staff never takes me seriously and most of the time I end up sick! Unfortunately, the managers don't really care.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    This is a good eye opener. How about some easy ways to tell if the pasta is gluten-free? On the menu, inform the consumer: all of our gluten-free pasta is infused with spinach to give it a distinct green tone. If you are served pasta that isn't this color, please let your server know. Something like that could help. When it all looks alike, it's difficult for everyone.

    I love that idea! I hate being the "picky customer," so I feel like I am insulting the staff by asking "are you sure it's ___-free?" I worked in a restaurant long before I knew that I had any issues with food, and I've been that employee who thinks "wow, what an annoying customer."

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

×
×
  • Create New...