Friday 15 December 2017

€10k for builder struck down by poison prawns

A self-employed builder left too sick to work by out-of-date prawns has been awarded almost €10,000 in damages.

John Neary (49) suffered a severe bout of food poisoning after eating the rancid food and was unable to work for more than six weeks.

The prawns, bought from J.C. Savage’s supermarket in Swords, turned out to be three months past their sell-by date, a court heard.

Barrister Mark O’Mahony, counsel for Mr Neary, told the Circuit Civil Court that Mr Neary’s girlfriend Maria Spain had used the prawns in a dinner to celebrate her boyfriend’s 45th birthday in December 2004.

He had become ill quickly afterwards.


Mr Neary, of Rivervalley Grove, Swords, told Judge Alan Mahon that only hours after eating a prawn cocktail he had taken Maria to a pub and ended up spending his drinking time on the loo with diarrhoea.

He suffered extreme discomfort and pain in his stomach and bowels for six weeks and had to take three types of antibiotic before showing signs of recovery.

Ms Spain told the court she had bought a tub of prawns in J.C. Savage’s supermarket in the Swords shopping centre on December 4, 2004. She had washed them before preparing a starter.

She told Mr O’Mahony that Mr Neary had eaten his cocktail as she prepared steaks for the main course, and when she sat down to have her prawns she had noticed something odd about the texture of them and had eaten only one or two.

Mr Neary had then looked for the empty tub in the waste bin and discovered that the sell-by date on it was August 2004.

Ms Spain did not suffer the same illness.

Mr Neary said that shortly after he and Maria had gone to the pub he developed pains in his stomach and had to go to the toilet. After another two visits he told Maria he would have to go home as he “couldn’t hack”.


Witnesses for defendants J.C. Savage Supermarket Ltd and Boyne Valley Foods Ltd, Drogheda, Co Louth, gave evidence of an almost daily inspection of sell-by-date checks at the supermarket.

Paul Kinch, manager of the deli foods division in the supermarket, said it would be impossible for the prawns to have got through so many checks over |a three months period. They would have disintegrated into rancid pieces and would have smelled and tasted revolting.

Judge Mahon, awarding Mr Neary €9,500 damages against both defendants, said the unfortunate incident could only have been caused by out of date prawns having mistakenly been mixed with fresh product.


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