Coroner may call Wakefield Council to give evidence at inquest over man with peanut allergy who died after eating pizza ordered on Deliveroo

Wakefield Council could be called to give evidence at the inquest of a man who died after eating a pizza he ordered on Deliveroo.
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James Atkinson, 23, died on July 10, 2020, after ordering a takeaway pizza via the Deliveroo app from a restaurant in Newcastle.

Mr Atkinson, originally from Leeds, had a known nut allergy to peanuts and he suffered a severe allergic reaction.

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A full inquest into the tragedy is due to be held in October this year.

James Atkinson died in July 2020 after ordering a takeaway pizza via the Deliveroo app.James Atkinson died in July 2020 after ordering a takeaway pizza via the Deliveroo app.
James Atkinson died in July 2020 after ordering a takeaway pizza via the Deliveroo app.

Wakefield Council may be called upon by the coroner as it is the ‘Primary Authority’ for Deliveroo.

The report states: “As Primary Authority (PA) for Deliveroo, we are assisting the business in relation to the above death.

“As PA, Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Joint Services may be called upon by the coroner as an ‘interested party’ for the purposes of the inquest.”

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Primary Authority is a Government-backed scheme aimed at providing businesses with advice on meeting regulations such as environmental health, trading standards or fire safety through a single point of contact.

Wakefield Council’s website states that its environmental health team “deliver award winning Primary Authority nationally”.

Businesses do not need to be based in Wakefield to have a partnership with them.

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As well as Deliveroo, Wakefield Council’s business partners also include Cedar Court Hotels, Morrisons, Asda, Primark, Next, Gravity Fitness, the British Frozen Food Federation and Vue Cinemas.

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A pre-inquest review into Mr Atkinson’s death was held in Newcastle on May 10.

The full inquest is scheduled for October 19 to 22.

The report, from councillor Jack Hemingway, Wakefield Council deputy leader and portfolio holder for climate change and environment, will be put to a full council meeting on Wednesday June 29.

The report continues: “At present all information is confidential that relates to the case but we can state that Deliveroo were legally compliant.

“Deliveroo provides allergy information on each restaurant home page as part of the customer journey.

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“‘Restaurant info’ offers the food hygiene rating and allergy information.

“In this section customers are also asked to phone restaurants to discuss allergens.

“Deliveroo sets out clear and detailed information for restaurants when it comes to allergens and has an allergen policy that explains the standards they expect restaurants to meet regarding allergens.

“However, being legally compliant does not mean that improvements cannot be explored to prevent the likelihood of further deaths.

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“Therefore, we are working proactively with the business and West Yorkshire Trading Standards to investigate if the online platform can be improved in relation to allergen information to improve the customer journey in relation to safety.

“This information will be presented to the coroner at the main inquest later this year.”

Mr Atkinson, a software developer and rugby fan from the Garforth area of Leeds, moved to Newcastle to study computer science at university.

After graduating, he remained in the city to work.

Law firm Leigh Day, who are representing Mr Atkinson’s family, have said his parents, Jill and Stuart Atkinson, are hoping that the inquest will help them to get answers about the circumstances around his death.

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A statement on behalf of the family reads: “Over two million people in the UK are living with a diagnosed food allergy and this number is on the rise.

“Their aim is to ensure that by examining whether lessons could be learned in James’ death, other allergy sufferers can be better protected.”

Mr Atkinson’s family are raising funds for their case through CrowdJustice.