Death of Teen from Anaphylaxis Prompts Investigation into Food Delivery Apps


James Tsindos, a 17-year-old Cypriot living in Australia, died in May 2021 after eating a burrito bowl he ordered online via the food delivery app Deliveroo. He was unaware the dish contained cashews to which he was allergic.

After eating the dish, James’ lips began to swell, his throat began to tingle and he suffered abdominal pain. He called the restaurant and was told the dish he ordered contained cashews.

His father called emergency services who arrived within 11 minutes and administered a dose of epinephrine, to which James responded well.

He was taken to a local hospital but developed wheezing an hour later, perhaps the result of a biphasic reaction. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he subsequently suffered cardiac arrest. He was transferred to the intensive care unit but was removed from life support on June 1.

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An attorney for the family said there were questions about the medical care James received citing inconsistencies between hospital and ambulance records.

Said the attorney:

The family have grave concerns about the method in which the burrito bowl was advertised on Deliveroo. It made it very difficult to find any mention that cashews were any part of the make up of the dish.

Today, Coroner Sarah Gebert ordered an inquest into his death, saying numerous medical experts had differing opinions regarding the treatment given to James during his reaction. The court proceeding will likely take place in July or August.

Gebert said that restaurants and takeout businesses were not required to tell customers if food included ingredients like nuts.

She pledged to call medical experts to give evidence and inquire with the Victorian health department to see whether further community education was necessary or regulations governing delivery apps needed to be updated.

With the family in the courtroom, the coroner said:

I understand from all of the material he was a beautiful young man. It’s not only a loss for yourselves, it’s a loss for our community as well.

We send the Tsindos Family our heartfelt condolences for their unimaginable loss. We wish them strength and solace in the months to come as the inquest draws near and hope it brings them some measure of closure.

Let’s take this opportunity to discuss the problems with delivery apps for the food allergy community.

Restaurants change their recipes and ingredients all the time and sometimes those changes may not even be reflected in the establishment’s own menu, much less a delivery app. But even when such changes occur, you have no idea when they will be synchronized with the food delivery app. Does such synchronization occur monthly? Quarterly? Is it a manual process prone to mistakes?

Assuming all the menu information is up to date and you’ve found a menu item you believe is safe for your food allergy, you must inform the restaurant of your allergies to ensure they handle your food safely. If you provide this information via the app, you have no idea how that information is passed to the restaurant and to whom. Is the person who receives that information trained to understand the implications? Will they warn the kitchen staff? Has the kitchen staff been trained to understand allergies and how to avoid cross-contact?

For these reasons, we encourage you to avoid delivery apps altogether and call the restaurant directly and speak with the manager. Describe your allergies in detail, and if you aren’t sure you can be safely accommodated, do not order from them.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of

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