Firm hits out at ‘unfounded’ Pret claims over second allergy death

The firm blamed by Pret A Manger for supplying a contaminated yoghurt suspected to have caused a second allergy death has called the chain’s claims “unfounded”.

Pret said the patron died after eating a “super-veg rainbow flatbread” containing a yoghurt that was supposed to be dairy-free, but was found to be contaminated with dairy.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it investigated supplier CoYo, which then issued an allergy alert and recalled its coconut yoghurts.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, died after eating a Pret baguette in 2016 (handout/PA)

But CoYo has denied the recall was linked to the death and accused Pret of hampering its own probe by failing to provide vital information.

“The claims made by Pret are unfounded,” a spokeswoman for CoYo said on Sunday.

The latest death emerged as Pret was facing scrutiny over 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who was allergic to sesame and died after eating one of its baguettes.

The second customer collapsed and died on December 27 after buying the sandwich in a store in Stall Street, Bath.

Pret said it had been “mis-sold” a guaranteed dairy-free yoghurt by CoYo that was discovered to contain dairy protein.

I promised @Pret would make meaningful changes to inform and protect customers with allergies. Here’s what we are going to do

— Clive Schlee (@Cliveschlee) October 3, 2018

Vegan brand CoYo, a coconut milk brand that has been endorsed by TV cook Nigella Lawson, recalled the yoghurts in February.

But on Sunday, CoYo denied this was related to the death, saying that product was supplied to it in January – after the death.

“The dairy-free product we provided to Pret in December 2017, at the time of this tragedy, is not linked to the product we recalled in February 2018,” a spokeswoman said.

“Pret’s inability to provide us with a batch code, despite several requests, has severely limited our ability to investigate this further.”

Bath’s council alerted Pret to the incident and the chain said it then withdrew all affected products, ended its CoYo contract and launched legal action.

“Subsequent testing by Pret and two independent authorities found that the CoYo dairy-free yoghurt contained traces of dairy protein,” a Pret spokesman added.

The Food Standards Agency investigated along with Bexley council in London, where CoYo is based, before it issued an allergy alert.

Pret announced on Wednesday it will include full ingredient labelling on all of its products and the Government is considering a law change after the death of Natasha, from Fulham, south-west London.

She collapsed on board a flight in July 2016 after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette she had bought in Heathrow Airport.