Pret-A-Manger faced trial at Bristol Crown Court this week following an incident in November 2017 where a student suffered a severe allergic reaction after eating a sandwich containing sesame.
In a case with striking parallels to that of the tragic death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016, student Isobel Colnaghi gave evidence to the court that she purchased a sandwich after being assured by a staff member that it did not contain sesame to which she was severely allergic.
The court heard that the staff member who advised Isobel had failed to check the store’s allergen guide, in line with store policy, which correctly identified that the sandwich did, in fact, contain sesame. The court heard that Isobel had to be taken to hospital for emergency treatment as a result.
Following a week of trial, the jury acquitted Pret-A-Manger on Tuesday 4th May 2021 of one charge of selling food not of the substance demanded, contrary to Section 14 of the Food Safety Act 1990.
Following the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016, the Anaphylaxis Campaign worked closely with Pret-A-Manger on their Pret Allergy Plan with the result that they became the first food-to-go business to introduce full ingredient labels on their freshly made in-store products in 2019.
It will become a legal requirement from October 2021, with the introduction of ‘Natasha’s Law’, for full ingredients labelling, including highlighted allergens, on all pre-packed for direct sale foods.
Lynne Regent CEO of Anaphylaxis Campaign said:
‘The introduction of ‘Natasha’s Law’ cannot come soon enough. This case highlights yet again why full ingredients labelling on pre-packed for direct sale foods such as sandwiches is so critical to keep allergic consumers safe. Our best wishes go to Ms Colnaghi following what will have undoubtedly been an extremely difficult time.’
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