US & Canada

Canada waiter may be charged after diner's allergic reaction

File image of salmon on a plate Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Seafood is one of the most common food allergies, experts say

Police in the Canadian province of Quebec are recommending a waiter be charged with criminal negligence for allegedly serving salmon to a customer with a seafood allergy.

The waiter in Sherbrooke was arrested after the diner was rushed to hospital and spent two days in a coma.

A police spokesman said they were recommending the charge because of the seriousness of the incident.

Prosecutors are expected to make a decision within the next few weeks.

According to the official complaint, Simon-Pierre Canuel informed the waiter about his allergies to seafood when he arrived at the tapas bar Le Tapageur in Sherbrooke in May.

He placed an order for beef tartare and again reminded the waiter of his allergies. Police say the waiter did not write down the order.


The dish that arrived was salmon tartare, Sherbrooke Police Constable Martin Carrier said, but because of low lighting in the bar, Mr Canuel did not notice it until he had taken a bite.

Within minutes he was taken ill and lost consciousness, PC Carrier said.

"When you don't do something that is supposed to be your duty, and you show recklessness for the life or security of someone, that's a crime," he was quoted by the Globe and Mail as saying.

Mr Canuel told the newspaper: "The server [waiter] had almost killed me. I know it [was] an error, but that error had almost taken my life."

He filed a formal complaint with police on 21 July and the waiter, a 22-year-old man, was later arrested. He was released but told he would appear in court if charges were brought.

Mr Canuel says he is also considering civil action.

Le Tapageur restaurant declined to comment when contacted by the BBC.

Related Topics