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British teen died from allergic reaction to birthday meal after restaurant assured him food was safe


A British teenager who died from an allergic reaction after eating a birthday meal at the Byron burger chain had told staff about his dairy allergy but was assured the food was safe to eat, a coroner found.

Owen Carey was celebrating his 18th birthday at the restaurant in 2017 when he ordered a fried chicken burger coated in buttermilk at the restaurant in London.

He was reassured by the menu and told by staff that the burger would be safe to eat, the UK’s Press Association reported.

Carey suffered an allergic reaction and died within an hour of eating it.

“The deceased made serving staff aware of his allergies. The menu was reassuring in that it made no reference to any marinade or potential allergenic ingredient in the food selected,” Coroner Briony Ballard said in a statement. “The deceased was not informed that there were allergens in the order. The food served to and consumed by the deceased contained dairy which caused the deceased to suffer a severe anaphylactic reaction from which he died.”

The results were read during an inquest at Southwark Coroner’s Court on Friday. Carey’s family urged the government to change laws on allergen labeling in restaurants.

“We want restaurants to have to display clear allergen information on each individual dish on their menus,” the family said. “The food industry should put the safety of their customers first.”

Byron CEO Simon Wilkinson offered his “deepest condolences” to Carey’s family.

“It is a matter of great regret and sadness that our high standards of communicating with our customers were not met during Owen’s visit,” Wilkinson said in a statement. “We believe that Byron always did its best to meet our responsibilities, but we know that this will be of no comfort to Owen’s family.”