- Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, died in 2016 after eating a Pret A Manger sandwich that failed to list an ingredient she was allergic to: sesame seeds.
- An inquest in the UK heard that Pret A Manger received nine complaints of sesame-related allergy incidents in 2015, including six involving its “artisan baguettes,” but did not list it as an ingredient on product-shelf tickets, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
- Pret A Manger had been in the process of making allergen information clearer to customers, Business Insider understands.
- The chain now lists all allergens, including sesame, on product-shelf tickets in the UK.
Pret A Manger was warned at least six times that its baguettes could cause allergic reactions before a 15-year-old girl died after eating one of its sandwiches, an inquest in the UK has heard, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
The girl, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, went into cardiac arrest and died after eating a Pret A Manger baguette sandwich with artichoke, olive, and tapenade in July 2016, according to the BBC.
Ednan-Laperouse had numerous allergies, including to sesame. The baguette contained sesame seeds, but it was not labelled on the sandwich’s packaging, the BBC reported.
I’m back at the inquest into the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse. She died after eating a Pret sandwich she didn’t realise contained sesame seeds. There is discussion of Pret’s food labelling and allergy warnings. pic.twitter.com/ox3yjw8ByU
— Dan Johnson (@DanJohnsonNews) September 26, 2018
Ednan-Laperouse, from London, bought the sandwich at Heathrow Airport before flying to Nice, France, on summer holiday, the BBC said.
She collapsed about 20 minutes into the flight, went into cardiac arrest, and died within hours, the BBC reported.
Her father, Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, said his daughter foamed at the mouth and couldn’t breathe, according to Sky News. The symptoms persisted though Nadim administered two EpiPen shots to Natasha and a doctor performed CPR for the rest of the flight, he said.
Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said in a statement cited by the BBC: “I was stunned that a big food company like Pret could mislabel a sandwich and this could cause my daughter to die.”
UK food-labelling regulations do not require restaurants that make and package food onsite, like Pret A Manger, to label allergen information on each individual product, according to the BBC.
Inquests in the UK aim to determine the cause of a person’s death but do not attribute responsibility. The inquest into Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death is scheduled to last until Friday.
The global food chain received nine complaints of sesame-related allergy incidents, including six involving its “artisan baguettes,” in the year before Ednan-Laperouse died, the BBC reported, citing a company complaint log.
One of the cases involved a woman who nearly died after having an anaphylactic reaction after eating a baguette in 2015, according to the BBC. The outlet reported that her family warned Pret A Manger about labelling ingredients but that the chain did not explicitly label its sandwiches with allergy information at the time.
Business Insider understands that at the time of Ednan-Laperouse’s death, Pret A Manager had been in the process of making allergen information clearer to customers.
At the time, Pret A Manger had a guide detailing allergens in its foods posted in its shops and on its website, but not on product-shelf tickets, Business Insider also understands. The chain had signs on fridges and at registers advising customers to speak to a manager to see the allergen guide.
The chain now lists all allergens, including sesame, on product-shelf tickets in the UK.
A Pret A Manger spokeswoman told Business Insider in a statement: “We were deeply saddened to hear about Natasha’s tragic death, and our heartfelt thoughts are with her family and friends. We take food allergies and how allergen information is provided to our customers extremely seriously.”
Earlier this year, British advertising regulators banned Pret A Manger from marketing its food as “natural” because the chain uses additives in its products.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.