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Family of girl who died after eating Pret baguette says law playing ‘Russian roulette’



The family of a girl who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger baguette says the law played “Russian roulette” with her life and needs to be changed.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, collapsed on a flight from Heathrow to Nice in July 2016, after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette, that contained sesame seeds – to which she was allergic.

Speaking on the final day of an inquest into her death, her father Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said it was “clear” current food labelling laws were “not fit for purpose”.

“It feels to us that if Pret A Manger followed the law, then the law was playing Russian roulette with our daughter’s life,” he said. “It is now time to change the law.”

Father of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse speaks after inquest into her death


Natasha’s dad: This tragedy shouldn’t have happened

The family made the statement after the coroner told the inquest that Pret A Manger had failed to address the seriousness of food allergies, in spite of the large size of the business.

Dr Sean Cummings said the teenager died of anaphylaxis after eating the baguette.

Concluding after several days of evidence, Dr Cummings found Pret relied on stickers, which urged customers to ask staff or check the Pret website, to provide information on allergens in their products.

Natasha checked the packet before eating the baguette, but Pret had not declared the fact it did contained sesame on the packet.

“There was no specific allergen information on the baguette packaging or on the (food display cabinet) and Natasha was reassured by that,” the coroner said.

The coroner said he would make a report to Environment Secretary Michael Gove over whether large businesses should be able to benefit from regulation 5 of the Food Information Regulations.

It allows for incomplete labelling of food products not requiring identification of allergens in bold labelling on the packet.

Following the statement, Natasha’s family released a video of the teenager laughing and joking with her friend, taken shortly before she became ill.

The girls were on their way to Nice, where they were due to stay at Natasha’s grandparents’ flat at the beginning of what the 15-year-old hoped would be the “best summer ever”.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse on a plane before she died from a sesame allergy


Natasha was filmed on board a BA flight shortly before she had a deadly allergic reaction

At the time of the video she had already taken Piriton for symptoms of the fatal allergy, after her throat became itchy while she was at the airport.

In a statement following the coroner’s conclusion, the chief executive of Pret a Manger, Clive Schlee, said the company was “deeply sorry”.

“We cannot begin to comprehend the pain the family have felt and the grief they will continue to feel,” he said.

“We’ve listened to everything the coroner and Natasha’s family have said and we will learn from it.”

John Cruddas, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for allergy, also said the inquest should mark a “watershed” for food labelling.

“The heartbreaking case of Natasha has highlighted fundamental flaws in our food labelling laws,” he said.

“It is now vital that food retailers and manufacturers take action to ensure information about the 14 allergens is carried on all packaging.”

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