Man’s face swells and eyes burn after allergic reaction to Costa hot chocolate

Man’s face swells and eyes burn after allergic reaction to Costa hot chocolate

A man suffered a severe allergic reaction after drinking a hot chocolate from a Costa Coffee.

Paul Arsenault says his eyes started burning and his face began to swell after he visited the Costa branch in Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset.

His reaction was so severe that paramedics were called to treat him at his home.

Now Costa Coffee has apologised to the 29-year-old and launched an investigation.

The incident happened after Paul and his 16-year-old brother Dylan decided to buy themselves a warm drink while they waited for their mum to finish work at Bournemouth Hospital.

Paul said: “I have milk and nut allergies, so I ordered my drink and said ‘sorry to be difficult, but please can I have soya milk instead of cow’s milk?’ unlike my brother who had cow’s milk.

“The drink was made with soya milk and it seemed fine. After finishing it at home my throat began to feel tingly and realisation dawned that the barista must have mixed the soya milk with cow’s milk by using one jug.

“Usually when I have an allergic reaction, I can drink a bit of water and take some tablets and I’m not too worried about it, but I was stood at the kitchen sink when my eyes started burning.

“I hadn’t had a reaction like this since I was aged four or five. My face then started to swell up and I could no longer see.”

Paramedics were called to Paul’s house, where he was given an antihistamine injection in the back of his arm.

Paul said: “It was a very anxious evening as I didn’t know if I was going to wake up the next morning. You can have a second, more severe allergic reaction after the first one.

“Now I’m thinking of other people whose allergies are worse than mine who might end up dead due to something like this happening.

“I don’t want anyone to lose their life over a Costa drink.

“When in a coffee shop, people with allergies really need to reinforce that they have an allergy. I think there should be three different jugs in coffee shops, one for almond milk, another for cow’s milk and the third for soya milk.

“It was a pretty scary time. I will probably go back to Costa to tell them what happened and say that they need to be careful.”

In response to this incident, a Costa Coffee spokesperson, said: “Costa Coffee takes the safety and wellbeing of our customers extremely seriously and has strict allergy training and procedures in-place to help to minimise the risk to those customers who suffer from allergens.

“This includes additional equipment, including separate jugs and cleaning cloths, being used when making a drink with a milk alternative.

“We are investigating this incident with our franchise partner who owns and operates the store and would like to apologise to the customer for any distress this incident has caused.”

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