Activist and entrepreneur Amar Lodhia staged a three hour demonstration outside Sainsbury’s Head Quarters in London on Wednesday 18th September 19 after Sainsbury’s refused to stop selling the unsafe meals produced by Scratch Meals which have left a person seeking emergency medical assistance in hospital after swallowing a piece of plastic.
The protest was timely in the wake of the introduction of Natasha’s Law by the Secretary of State, Michael Gove just three weeks ago. Natasha Ednan-Laprouse died in 2016 on a flight to Nice after an allergic reaction to a baguette she bought at Pret-a-Manger.
Sainsbury’s have had numerous warnings from authorities and Mr Lodhia about the sale of these dangerous products, after his company, Fit Kitchen has been subject to an increased number of misdirected complaints regarding Scratch Meals’ products. The complaints have increased in frequency and seriousness since the infringing Fit Kitchen range, sold in all Sainsbury’s stores in the UK, grew from four to eight products earlier this summer. A recent complaint came from a Reading based driver, Mr Kay who had an allergic reaction whilst driving after eating a poorly labeled meal from Scratch Meals. Traces of nuts were found in the meal, which was not labeled correctly according to Reading’s food safety team, which could have killed Mr Kay.
Recently, the FMCG magazine reported a leaked complaint from Sainsbury’s own lab in East London. The complaint described the outcome of which a lab analyst found a piece of plastic in one of Scratch Meals products which was sold in a Surrey branch of Sainsbury’s. The complaint was sent by the lab analyst by mistake to Mr Lodhia’s organisation, assuming his company had produced the contaminated meal.
For two years, Mr Lodhia’s Fit Kitchen has had to deal with thousands of misdirected complaints including a growing number of serious ones of foreign objects (glass, metal bearings, plastic and stones) being found in Scratch Meals products.
Sainsbury’s was made aware of these grave concerns regarding product safety concerning its supplier in May 2017, but have continued to sell their unsafe products. Sainsbury’s Head of Legal, Dafydd Pugh has accused Mr Lodhia of being an opportunist and creating an industry out of litigation after Mr Lodhia has threatened to claim injunctive relief from Sainsbury’s.
Mr Lodhia claims that Sainsbury’s Mr Pugh even asked him to provide a cross-undertaking for damages to deter him from filing an injunction against them. He said this goes to show the length that the organisation is willing to defend its guilty supplier. Other retailers of the Fit Kitchen range produced by Scratch Meals have confirmed they will no longer sell the product, but Sainsbury’s hasn’t followed suit yet.
Mr Lodhia says he feels like it is his moral duty to protect the public. He goes further to state that he will fund and carry out another protest outside Sainsbury’s Head Office in London on 3rd October 2019. He hopes that the court will take Natasha’s example into consideration and see that Mr Lodhia was actually trying to save lives by taking such a drastic stance.