Coroner reports on two Melbourne food allergy deaths

Victorian Coroner Audrey Jamieson has reported on the deaths of 10-year-old milk allergic Ronak Warty, who died after consuming Taiwanese coconut water that contained dairy protein in 2013, and 15 year old nut allergic Jack Irvine, who died at a training camp after eating a lunch order which included macadamia nut cookies.

Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia tested the Green Time Natural Coconut Drink and results showed it contained dairy products. A month later the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recalled it from the market. This lengthy delay prompted Coroner Jamieson to call into question Australia’s imported food regulations.

Sydney-based Narkena Pty Ltd, which imported the drink from Taiwan, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Food Act and was fined $18,000, in addition to being ordered to pay the NSW Food Authority costs of $24,000. Read more here.

In response to Jack Irvine’s death in 2012, the same coroner has called for more stringent food labelling on Subway’s catering packs. Coroner Jamieson recommended that Subway Systems Australia provide a copy of the allergen guide with each catering order, introduce a mandatory labelling system for catering packs, and introduce allergy guide displays in the public area of outlets.

Coroner Jamieson also recommended a brochure or app be made to educate parents and individuals about the severity of food allergies and asthma, and the potentially lethal combination of both.

Read more here.