Manslaughter case after a woman who was allergic to dairy products died from eating a supposedly vegan tiramisu.
Anna Bellisario, 20, suffered anaphylactic shock after eating the dessert in a vegan restaurant she visited with her boyfriend in Milan last January.
The dish contained mascarpone, which was labelled as vegan but contained dairy products, prosecutors in Milan said.
As soon as she started to feel unwell, Ms Bellisario rushed to the lavatory to try to make herself vomit and also took the cortisone and asthma medication that she carried with her at all times.
She was taken to hospital but went into a coma and died 10 days later.
Prosecutors said the incident proved fatal because of her acute allergy to dairy products, which she had suffered from since birth.
“The quantity of milk protein found in the product in question indicates that there was mascarpone present…notwithstanding the fact that the product was sold as ‘vegan’,” Marcello Viola, a prosecutor, said in a statement.
Victim ‘very careful about what she ate’
Ms Bellisario was “always very careful about what she ate and that evening had specified to the restaurant that there must be neither eggs nor milk” in the food she ordered, prosecutors said.
Not only did the tiramisu contain milk, but a purportedly vegan sandwich that Ms Bellisario ate contained egg in its mayonnaise –
Not only did the tiramisu contain milk, but a purportedly vegan sandwich that Ms Bellisario ate contained egg in its mayonnaise.
The two owners of the company that produced the tiramisu, Giuseppe Loiero and his mother, Giovanna Anoia, are being investigated for manslaughter. The tiramisu has been withdrawn from sale.
The pair are yet to publicly comment on the investigation.
Prosecutors said their firm, called Glg, had failed to respect food preparation procedures and that its training of staff was inadequate.
One employee had only completed a four-hour course on food hygiene.
In a wire-tapped conversation, Ms Anoia was overheard saying: “When you produce a product like that you don’t think about people who have allergies, you’re doing it for vegans, not for those with allergies.”
Prosecutors accused her of “underestimating the different types of consumers that the product was being made for”.
The firm produced vegan and non-vegan products in the same room at the same time, investigators alleged.
Employees allegedly mixed up animal-based products such as mascarpone with “ingredients of vegetable origin”.
The restaurant where Ms Bellisario ate, Flower Burger, is not thought to be under investigation.