Girl, 10, allergic to food in school holiday meal box
- Credit: Sasha Peggs
A mum-of-three from Elmswell who received a free school meal box full of foods her daughter is allergic to has warned "someone could be killed" if the mistake happens again.
The free school meal box arrived at the family's home a few days before the Easter holidays and to their dismay it was packed with foods they could not eat — along with mouldy onions.
"People don't take other allergies as seriously," said Sasha Peggs, whose 10-year-old daughter Mila is dairy intolerant and a coeliac.
She has spoken of her fury after the food box arrived with cheese, cow's milk, pasta and pitta bread, despite her filling in an online form to notify the company of her daughter's dietary requirements.
Pink Orange, the company who package and deliver the free school meal boxes during the holidays, said it was an isolated incident which they have taken extremely seriously.
Ms Peggs, 49, said she fears carelessness when it comes to packing up the boxes could cost lives.
"I'm not worried about having more food," she explained.
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"But I am concerned this could kill somebody as you can get anaphylaxis from cow's milk. People don't take other allergies as seriously as they do with nuts.
"It really is so dangerous, and I understand this is a charity with volunteers, but they could kill someone if they get it wrong."
Ms Peggs only realised she qualified for free school meals recently, when she struggled to make profits from her holistic beauty and complimentary therapies business — Langham Clinic — as it was forced to close during lockdown.
She requested one of the boxes when the schools closed for the holidays, as during term-time the school kitchen prepare gluten and dairy-free meals for Mila.
When the delivery woman pulled out a bag with butter, cheese and ham inside — which could all make Mila extremely unwell — Ms Peggs said there must have been a mistake.
But the box which followed was full of whole-wheat pitta, pasta and cow's milk.
She spoke to Pink Orange, but claims it wasn't until a few days later that she received a knock at the door and an apology, after the Easter weekend.
A spokesman for Pink Orange said: “This truly was an isolated miss-picked incident (out of 15,000 deliveries across Suffolk over the Easter school holidays), which we have taken extremely seriously.
"We as standard offer at least 10+ alternative allergy/dietary ingredients kits alongside an ‘others’ comment box.
"We rectified this genuine mistake swiftly by hand delivering the correct dietary ingredients box the next business day, to ensure provision was rapidly met for the child in question. This was personally accepted by Ms Peggs, along with our deepest apologies.”
Ms Peggs has since called for a change in procedure — explaining that adding names to boxes could prevent situations like this from happening again.