Pret A Manger had nine sesame allergy reactions in the year before Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death
The coroner’s inquiry into the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse heard that the Pret A Manger chain had nine sesame allergy reactions in the year before the 15 year old’s death in July 2016, and that six of them reportedly involved an ‘artisan baguette’ of the type that she ate.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after eating a baguette she bought at a Pret A Manger outlet in Heathrow airport before boarding a flight to Nice. She became ill minutes after eating the baguette and, despite her Fathers best efforts, including using two epi pens, she suffered cardiac arrest and upon landing in Nice was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The inquest has heard that the label on the baguette made no mention of sesame. It seems there are less stringent requirements for on-product labelling for ‘made to sell’ products than for other foods, and that Pret never lists ingredients on its packets. Instead opting to provide allergen guidance on the refrigerated display cabinets and in the till area.
It is unclear whether that guidance was on display and easy to read on that day.
This raises questions about the adequacy of current regulations for allergen labelling of ‘made to sell’ foods. It would seem obvious, when not seeing the information can lead to death, that it should be mandatory to apply labels to the food packaging itself.
Until that is the case it means anyone suffering a food allergy must be especially careful when eating food such as sandwiches etc that are ‘made to sell’. The wisest course of action when buying food like this is to presume it has been contaminated and ask the management directly how the product was made, does it contain any allergens, and how it was handled in the shop itself. If there’s any doubt just don’t buy the product.
Oneill Injury Solicitors are one of the foremost specialist food and gluten intolerance solicitors in the UK. Their special interest in this field comes from the principal’s first hand and family experience of gluten poisoning.
If you have any concerns about a possible food poisoning or allergen incident then please contact us for a free, confidential discussion, you can call us on 01535 958778, email us or use the form on this page.
This article is based upon information publicly available in news media including the Guardian, Sky News and the BBC.