Allergy scare echo of family tragedy after curry

REACTION: Steven Obertelli

REACTION: Steven Obertelli

First published in News

A FOOTBALL coach suffered a life-threatening allergic reaction after tasting an Indian takeaway containing peanuts — 10 years after his sister died from eating a curry from a Chorley takeaway.

Steven Obertelli went into anaphylactic shock soon after tasting the chicken tikka masala he ordered from his regular curry house.

The 29-year-old had told waiters at Westhoughton Indian Tandoori Takeaway that he was allergic to nuts — but chefs used a new ingredient in the curry, unaware that it was ground peanuts.

The case came to light after the takeaway owner was landed with a bill for thousands of pounds in fines, court costs and compensation.

The severe reaction, in May last year, came 10 years after Mr Obertelli’s elder sister Kate, a nail technician, died after suffering a fatal reaction to peanuts.

In July 2003, the 21-year-old died after eating an Indian takeway from a Chorley business.

She had also told waiters she had an allergy.

Mr Obertelli, who has eaten curries from the Market Street takeaway since he was a youngster, said: “As a family our only previous dealings with a serious allergic reaction has been a fatality.

“It isn’t right that every time you go out for a meal you play Russian roulette with your life. Restaurants think you are being fussy when you say you have an allergy but it is not somebody being picky — it is something they really can’t eat.”

Shortly after tasting the curry Mr Obertelli had problems breathing. He felt his throat closing and his lips swelled.

He used his EpiPen — an injection device for anaphylaxis — and was taken to hospital by his parents. He suffered a second reaction when the medication wore off and stayed in hospital overnight.

Mr Obertelli, who is a coach at Burnley Football Club, asked his wife, Emma to freeze the takeaway so it could be tested.

Bolton Council’s environmental health officers found that the chicken tikka masala and plain naan bread contained ground peanuts — despite a nut-free meal being requested.

Officers also uncovered cross contamination and found that takeaway owner Alkus Ali was not aware that the new ingredient he bought contained peanuts.

Ali, aged 54, of Westend Street, Oldham, admitted two counts of selling food not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser. Bolton magist- rates fined him £500, ordered him to pay £5,000 court costs and pay the victim £2,500.

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