A FINANCE director from Warrington said a ‘catalogue of errors’ on a TUI holiday led to his wife being violently sick after a series of alleged food contaminations.

Angela Eckersley has a severe allergy to all seafood and shellfish products and if she comes in contact with them she could have a fatal anaphylactic reaction.

She carries an epi pen with her at all times and she makes sure where ever she goes that bosses at hotels and restaurants are aware of her potentially life threatening condition.

But her husband says despite repeated warnings to holidays hotel bosses, kitchen staff continued to incorrectly label food and use the same utensils to serve fish and meat causing his wife to continually fall sick.

Now since returning home Angela, who was diagnosed with her condition 14 years ago, has now developed new extreme allergies that she didn’t have prior to her holiday requiring constant medication.

Her husband Christian is threatening to sue TUI over their two week ‘HoIiday from hell’ after he says their responses to his complaints were not taken seriously which led to a ‘derisory and unacceptable’ offer.

He said: “TUI have been disgraceful in their customer relations. They have taken nearly a year to respond. My wife could have died but no one seems to care.

“We had holidayed with TUI for our last three holidays before this and usually they were attentive to my wife’s condition but never again.”

Christian, Angela and their two daughters were on a family holiday to the TUI Magic Life Cala Pada hotel.

Warrington Guardian:

But soon after they had arrived in Ibiza, they noticed worrying signs of poor hygiene.

They visited the pizza counter and were horrified to see a female server using the same pizza tongs to replenish a salmon pizza and a ham and cheese pizza.

When they pointed out about the risk of cross contamination they were told ‘we have only one pizza cutter in the hotel so you can’t have pizza’.

Travel lawyer Paul Stevens, of Simpson Millar solicitors, said complaints about food labelling need to be thoroughly investigated owing to the potentially severe consequences.

He said: “This case demonstrates the real risk for allergy sufferers eating abroad. Both customers and those responsible for providing food, including tour operators, need to be vigilant to minimise the risks of the wrong food types being consumed.”

A spokeswoman for TUI said: “We are very sorry to hear of Ms Eckersley’s experience in Ibiza. We have listened to the customers feedback and we understand the impact this must have had on her holiday. We are in direct contact to apologise and offer a gesture of goodwill.

“We would like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in respect of health and safety, including food safety.”

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Angela decided later to play it safe with her food and have chicken but soon had to rush to the toilet and vomit it up after husband Christian spotted the servers using the same utensils to cook mackerel and turn chicken.

Christian, 38, added: “ I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was worried and told them what they were doing was dangerous. I also took photos of the lack of labelling on the foods and reported what I had seen to the TUI rep who said he would report the incident to management.”

With EU food labelling regulations introduced in 2014 for restaurants, under best practice guidelines, they should lists ingredients that may trigger allergies.

This includes listing dishes containing fish and crustaceans including crab and shrimp paste.

(EU FIC Food Information for Customers Regulation)

He said despite a large sign listing allergens and their symbols by the entrance to the restaurant buffet, none were being used in practice.

In these pictures taken by Christian at the hotel buffet, there appears to be no labelling of tuna fish in a Provençal salad or of foodstuff on a salad bar.

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Later that night they received an apology letter from the guest services manager who said all kitchen staff had been informed and it wouldn’t happen again.

But the following day Angela woke with a badly swollen face, a migraine and repeated vomiting common signs of an allergic reaction.

Angela added: “I had been told to keep the epi pen for emergencies only and I didn’t want to use them until I really needed them. So I took more antihistamines.”

But a few days later she felt a bit better and reassured from the letter that she was now in safe hands. She took what she assumed were onion rings from the lunch pool snack bar but which turned out to be Calamari Rings.

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The 38-year-old mum added: “I immediately had to go to my room to be sick and take extra antihistamines to avoid using my epi pen. My family were incredibly distressed and worried.”

Christian took more pictures of the lack of food labelling and confronted hotel guest services about what had happened who admitted they had already had a team meeting about his wife and her condition.

He added: “The man first tried to claim that it was my wife’s fault and that they had been clearly labelled Calamari. But when I showed him the pictures he soon backed down.”

He later made an complaint with the TUI rep and the hotel tried offering him a one day car hire as compensation.

He added: “It was a complete insult, after all the stress we had been through with my wife being constantly sick throughout the holiday. “

Then despite repeated assurances everything was fine they later spotted a chef using the same utensil again for both chicken and fish.

They caught her on video as she rinsed it under cold water before drying it with kitchen roll and flip some chicken over.

Angela added: “Clearly all the messages we had been assured had been made to the catering staff in team meetings were falling on deaf ears! Surely a four star plus hotel has more than one set of cooking utensils?”

The hotel did later agree to pay for them to see a doctor a few days later.

But after a brief assessment - where he failed to carry out any testing to confirm an allergy - he admitted he didn’t know what an epi pen was.

Angela added: “Worryingly he said had never seen an epi pen before and spent a good deal of time asking me about them. I was very glad then that I was going home soon.”

When they got home last June Angela still felt ill and had to visit her GP for a course of steroids and discovered she had new allergies including animals.

She says she now has to take the equivalent of four antihistamine pills every day to keep her allergies in check.

Then began a 12-month long series of repeated correspondence and phone calls between Christian and TUI which he says has resulted in a wholly unsatisfactory response to his complaints and a ‘paltry’ offer of £1,000 in ‘full and final settlement.’

One of the country’s leading food scientists DR Lisa Ackerley said: “There are over 100 foods which are commonly reported as allergenic, so that’s why it’s important for the guest and caterer to have a dialogue.

“Always talk to the person in charge and if in doubt eat elsewhere. Wherever you are in the world, even if foods appear to be labelled comprehensively it’s always best to ask each time about allergenic ingredients and risks of cross-contact and make a judgement about whether it is safe to eat.”