Curry can be lethal, but probably not for the reason you think.
While the fiery heat of curry dishes like the Bombay Burner can induce hallucinations, it would take an ungodly amount of chili heat to actually kill you—apparently, somewhere in the ballpark of three pounds of "extreme chilies" in concentrated powder form.
Sadly, for one UK man, death by curry came in the far more subtle form of peanut allergy, along with what appears to be a heap of gross negligence on the part of a restaurant owner.
Paul Wilson, 38, a pub manager from Helperby, North Yorkshire died following a severe allergic reaction to a takeaway curry made with a ground nut mix containing peanuts, instead of the usual almond powder.
According to prosecutors in the ensuing manslaughter trial, Mohammed Zaman, owner of The Indian Garden restaurant, knew full well that his cost-cutting blend of nuts could be potentially harmful and had even been warned by his supplier about the dangers of a blend containing peanuts.
Not only did Zaman continue using the blend, the State's case alleges, but he also failed to warn customers. In fact, the takeaway package containing Paul Wilson's final meal even had "no nuts" written on top of it, as per his request, and even after his death, Zaman allegedly continued using the peanut-laced blend.
"Mohammed Zaman received numerous warnings that he was putting his customers' health, and potentially their lives, at risk," Crown prosecutor Richard Wright told the jury in the case, according to the Press Association. "Tragically for Paul Wilson, Mohammed Zaman took none of those opportunities and ignored all of the warnings he was given."
The most staggering of those warnings was probably when a 17-year-old girl with a peanut allergy had to be treated at a hospital after eating one of Zaman's curries. Luckily, she was treated with an EpiPen and didn't die.
"His was a reckless and cavalier attitude to risk and one that we, the prosecution, would describe as grossly negligent," Wright told jurors. "The evidence will establish that Mohammed Zaman put profit before safety and that he cut corners at every turn."
Because of his apparent carelessness and numerous red flags, Zaman was charged with manslaughter by gross negligence, perverting the course of justice, and six food safety offences. Still, Zaman's defense lawyer has yet to ley out his case, in which he denies all charges brought before the court. The trial is expected to last three weeks.