PEANUT powder was supplied to an Indian restaurant labelled as pure almond powder in a potentially fatal mix-up.

The Masoom restaurant, in Thorpe Bay, took delivery of ten kilos of the powder on December 14 last year, Southend Magistrates’ Court heard.

Despite consisting of two-thirds crushed peanuts, the label said the powder was 100 per cent almond and it was then used in mild passanda curries and other dishes.

Soms Shahin, of Shakespeare Crescent, East Ham, trading as Sima Enterprise Ltd, of Mile End Road, east London, supplied the powder and the court heard the restaurant was not at fault.

The botched delivery was discovered after Southend Council officers made a test purchase at the restaurant.

Dishes were analysed and later found to contain high levels of peanuts- a potentially deadly allergen.

Officers then returned to the restaurant and seized a large box containing the remaining powder.

Invoices showed the restaurant had previously received 436 boxes from the firm, but these had already been used and the labels and boxes destroyed.

Tessa O’Connell, mitigating, said: “The potential risk to the public, even one or two people, was extremely high.

“It could have been fatal. It’s a raffle as to who has that allergy.”

Jon Payne, mitigating, said the incident had been a “simple mistake” and had not been done for profit.

Soms Shahin and the company admitted a single charge each of selling an item with a misleading label.

Magistrates fined Shahin £1,224 and ordered him to pay a £120 victim surcharge.

Sims Enterprise Ltd was fined £2,083 and £130 victim surcharge, plus £2,720 costs.

Mark Flewitt, councillor for public protection, said: “Southend’s environmental health team’s food sampling shone a light on what was effectively a ticking time bomb.

“As around five in every 10,000 people in the UK are thought to have a peanut allergy, there’s no knowing how many people this intervention has spared from sickness or even death.”