Pret a Manger to list ingredients on products after sesame allergy death

Sandwich chain changes policy after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, died in 2016 from a severe reaction caused by baguette ingredients

Ben Chapman
Wednesday 03 October 2018 10:45 BST
The family of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse: 'If Pret A Manger were following the law, then the law was playing Russian roulette with our daughters life'

Pret a Manger will list all ingredients on all of its products following the death of a teenage customer after eating one of the chain’s baguettes.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, died in 2016 from a severe allergic reaction caused by sesame seeds which were not listed as an ingredient of the artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette.

Pret said it would now ensure that labels on all products, including those made fresh in-store, would now show all ingredients.

The company said it will trial the new system next month and roll it out to all of its UK shops as quickly as possible.

A loophole in the law means shops do not have to display all allergen information for food made on site.

In a statement, Pret chief executive Clive Schlee said: “I want to say again how deeply sorry we are for the loss of Natasha. I said we would learn from this tragedy and ensure meaningful changes happen.

“I hope these measures set us on course to drive change in the industry so people with allergies are as protected and informed as possible. Nothing is more important to Pret right now.”

Natasha’s father, Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, last week accused the company and the government of playing “Russian roulette” with his daughter’s life.

Mr Ednan-Laperouse said her death should be a “watershed moment” that prompts life-saving changes in food labelling laws.

The environment secretary, Michael Gove, has said the government is “urgently” reviewing the legislation.

Food companies are required by EU regulations to warn customers about allergy risks. They can do this either on signs and packaging or orally, usually meaning they are told to enquire themselves.

Pret previously chose to deliver the information orally and is supposed to have stickers within fridges telling customers to ask staff members for details.

The company’s complaint log from between 17 July 2015 and 29 June 2016 records nine cases of sesame-related allergy incidents.

One woman involved in one such incident contacted the law firm representing Natasha’s family, after learning about the teenager’s death.

She told them that she nearly died after suffering an anaphylactic reaction to the sesame in a baguette “nine months before Natasha’s death”, Jeremy Hyam QC told an inquest at West London Coroner’s Court last month.

Her father, a doctor, was present and saved her life, she said, adding that she was 17 at the time.

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