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28th Sep 2018

Coroner finds Pret a Manger gave ‘inadequate’ allergy warning in teenager death inquest

Marc Mayo

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse was ‘reassured’ by lack of allergy warnings

The inquest into the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse has found that Pret a Manger gave ‘inadequate’ advice on the baguette that triggered an allergic reaction and killed the 15-year-old.

With sesame an ingredient present in the sandwich, coroner Dr Sean Cummings stated that the teenager was comfortable with eating it despite her severe allergy.

“The baguette was manufactured to Pret specifications and contained sesame to which she was allergic,” the coroner told the inquest into her death.

“There was no specific allergen information on the baguette packaging or on the [food display cabinet], and Natasha was reassured by that.”

Speaking outside the inquest, Pret chief executive Clive Schlee spoke of how he hopes ‘meaningful change’ will now come to ensure a similar tragedy never occurs again.

“We cannot begin to comprehend the pain the family have felt and the grief they will continue to feel,” he stated. “We have listened to everything the coroner and Natasha’s family have said and we will learn from it.”

Ahead of a flight to Nice in July 2016, the teenager bought an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette from an outlet at Heathrow Airport.

After boarding the British Airways flight, Ms Ednan-Laperouse began experiencing difficulties and told her father: “Daddy, please help me, I can’t breathe.”

Despite injecting his daughter with her EpiPen twice, Nadim Ednan-Laperouse MBE couldn’t save her from the allergic reaction, with the coroner also noting that the second attempt was less likely to have worked as it was administered on the same leg.

Mr Ednan-Laperouse spoke of his grievance that existing regulations hadn’t demanded Pret showcase allergy advice in a clearer manner, when making a statement outside the inquest.

“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.”

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse was pronounced dead hours at a hospital in Nice hours after eating the baguette.

Dr Cummings is now to provide a report on regulation that allows large businesses to reduce their food labelling for products in shops for the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove.