A GURKHA restaurant has been fined for making a customer with coeliac disease ill after saying the meal she ordered did not contain gluten.

Fewali Limited, trading as Yaks and Yetis in Ross-on-Wye, and restaurant director Prakash Gurung were taken to Hereford Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The company and Gurung, 54, of Brookend Street pleaded guilty to supplying unsafe food which was injurious to health.

The court heard that a member of the public visited the restaurant, which sells Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine, in August 2017.

The customer, who had coeliac disease, asked the waitress whether her meal contained gluten and she was told it did not contain gluten.

The customer subsequently fell ill after eating the meal and reported the incident to Herefordshire Council’s Trading Standards.

Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten.

Trading Standards officers visited the restaurant in October last year and ordered the same meal. The meal was sampled and sent to a public analyst laboratory, which found the meal contained 179 parts per million of gluten in the sample. Meals must have less than 20 parts per million to be classified as gluten free.

A full inspection was carried out by trading standards and the council's environmental health team last December.

Officers found ingredients that had been decanted into plain jars so kitchen staff did not know what the product was and which ingredients they contained.

There were also no details of allergens within the ingredients and the food hygiene rating was reduced from five to three due to general hygiene and food safety management issues.

Fewali Limited and Gurung were fined £845, ordered to pay £1,000 costs, and a £100 victim surcharge which totalled £1,945.

Marc Willimont, the council's acting assistant director for regulation, environment and waste, said: “Accurate food labelling has been high profile in the news recently, and food business operators must take full responsibility to ensure accurate allergen information is clearly listed in their foods as the consequences of mislabelling can be life threatening.

"Businesses should also take steps to avoid cross contamination of foods, and ensure that their staff are trained on the potential dangers posed by communicating incorrect allergen information.”

Any customers concerned about food labelling at Herefordshire restaurants are urged to contact Trading Standards at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/trading-standards.