Death of boy who drank mislabelled coconut drink prompts inquest call

The death of a 10-year old Melbourne boy who consumed an imported ‘coconut drink’ that contained dairy products has led to a call for a Coroner’s inquest into food imports.

AAP reports that Ronak Warty from Burwood consumed a can of Green Time Natural Coconut Drink on December 13, 2013 after he and his father had checked the labelling and were confident it didn’t contain dairy products.

However, he had a reaction to the drink and died in hospital on December 20.

Sydney-based Narkena Pty Ltd imported the drink from Taiwan. The company pleaded guilty to three charges under the Food Act and was fined $18,000; and ordered to pay costs of $24,000 to the NSW Food Authority.

Tests conducted by Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia confirmed the product contained dairy products and post-mortem tests confirmed Ronak was sensitive to both cow’s milk and also the Green Time Natural Coconut Drink.

The incorrectly labelled product was eventually removed from shelves. However, according to a lawyer for Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia this happened a month after the boy’s death.

He called on the Coroner to investigate “the patchwork of regulation that applies to the test and labelling of imported foods”.