Pret A Manger allergy death girl’s parents demand standardised food labels

The parents of a girl who died after eating a Pret A Manger sandwich will meet Environment Secretary Michael Gove later to call for a law change requiring all foods to be labelled clearly with any allergens.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, of Fulham, west London, collapsed on board a flight to Nice in 2016 after eating a sandwich she bought at Heathrow Airport containing sesame seeds, to which she was allergic.

She later in hospital, aged 15.

Natasha’s father Nadim said at an inquest earlier this month that she died because of “inadequate food labelling laws” as the packaging did not mention the baguette contained the seeds.

He told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday: “We really, really want this change to the law to come in very quickly indeed to remove any possibility of people dying in the way our child did, in a very tragic way.

“There’s a real mish-mash of information out there.

“Some people label correctly, some don’t and some halfway. When you’re presented with a high street with different chain stores all labelling differently, it’s a nightmare waiting to happen.”

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse inquest
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse inquest

The meeting with Mr Gove will take place on Tuesday afternoon.

The Environment Secretary said the family is “absolutely right” to say the law needs to be changed.

He added: “I think their case is compelling and we need to act quickly in order to ensure that we have the best possible protection in place.”

Natasha’s mother Tanya told BBC Breakfast: “We taught Natasha to trust labels, to trust ingredients, she learned all the different words for different allergens.

“She could read a label and understand it by the time she was nine years old. It was very much a part of our life.

“There mustn’t be confusion with labels, it really does need to be standardised – if there is a label it should be the same everywhere.”

Asked how swiftly a change in the law could be brought about, she told the interviewer: “We assume that food companies know where their foods come from … and what they end up having in the foods that they sell.

“So why would it be difficult to label ingredients on a simple sticker? We don’t get the complication, and apparently there’s a large cost involved and again we don’t really understand that either.”

Mr Ednan-Laperouse added: “Natasha’s case has really put a spotlight on the kind of horrors that can happen in our country today.

“When all around there’s so much information and yet all at once there’s so little information about the food that we eat.”