Caterer denies using eggs in Sikh banquet

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The Independent Online

A caterer was ordered to pay £415,000 damages to the widow of a man who died from anaphylactic shock after eating a dessert at a Sikh wedding, Court of Appeal judges were told today.

Kuldip Singh Bhamra was allergic to eggs but believed he was safe because the wedding banquet was held in a Sikh Temple and observers of the religion do not eat eggs.

Lawyers for his widow, Amarjit Bhamra, had argued that Lucky Caterers were negligent for supplying a dish called ras malai which allegedly contained the egg.

Mr Bhamra, a research chemist, and his wife had travelled from Birmingham to the Ramgarhia Temple in Forest Gate, London, in August 2003, for the wedding attended by more than 500 guests.

Satinder Hunjan QC, representing the widow, told a panel of three judges at the Court of Appeal that eggs were "strictly forbidden" at the temple.

He said the caterer, Prem Datt Dubb, and all the Sikhs attending the wedding knew that there was an absolute prohibition on eggs.

"The deceased would be entitled in the circumstances to expect that there would not be any egg or egg product in the food which was being served at the temple."

Mr Bhamra was aware of his allergy but did not have his adrenalin pens on the day of the wedding. He fell into a coma and died three days later in hospital aged 49.

Mr Hunjan said there were more people at the wedding than had been catered for and it was alleged that Mr Dubb had bought in extra desserts which he had not prepared himself.

Mr Dubb, who charged £4 a head for the wedding meals, said he made all the food himself and said he had never used eggs.

He is appealing against the decision at Oxford County Court last November when a judge awarded the damages after ruling Mr Dubb had been negligent in supplying the dessert.

Christian Du Cann, representing him, told the court there was no established practice over warning guests about food ingredients.

"One wonders why any caterer should be under a duty to declare the ingredients."

He said Mr Dubb had prepared the ras malai himself and did not use any egg.

"There is no reason for the appellant to have sought to ignore his own tradition and serve a dessert using egg."

The appeal judges reserved their ruling to a later date.