The 15-year-old died after she ate an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette she bought at a Pret store at Heathrow Airport. The product contained sesame, to which Ednan-Laperouse was allergic. However, the business was not obliged by food labelling regulations to display that on-pack.
A coroner’s inquest into her death found that Pret’s labelling was inadequate and it was not “monitoring allergens seriously”. The coroner Dr Sean Cummings said he would be writing to Environment Secretary Michael Gove to address allergen labelling for food businesses.
Clive Schlee, Pret chief executive, said he hoped that the business “would learn from this tragedy and ensure meaningful changes result from it”.
“We are deeply sorry for the loss of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a Pret baguette containing sesame.”
The company plans to introduce prominent allergen warning stickers to be placed on all freshly made products, additional allergen warning signs to be displayed in shops, and full ingredient information, including allergens, for all products to be available online and in shops.
Schlee outlined the changes Pret had made over the past two years in terms of allergen labelling, but recognised that more needed to be done.
“In the last two years, we have been improving our allergen information. We now display declarable allergens for our freshly made products on shelf tickets in front of each item. We also have signs in our fridges, on product packaging, and at till points advising customers with allergies to speak with a manager to see our Allergen Guide.
“Despite these improvements, we recognise there is much more we can do. We will start trialling new labels, which show full ingredients, including allergens, on packaging from next month. This will be rolled out to all UK shops as quickly as possible.”