Caterers back Natasha Foundation's £2.8m allergen research trial

13 December 2022 by
Caterers back Natasha Foundation's £2.8m allergen research trial

Caterlink, BaxterStorey and Holyroyd Howe have partnered with the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation to help fund a £2.8m clinical research trial.

The Natasha Clinical Trial will be a three-year oral immunotherapy trial for children and young people with milk and peanut allergies.

The study was first announced in May 2022 and aims to prove that commonly available peanut and milk products can be used as an alternative to expensive pharmaceutical drugs.

Controlled doses distributed under medical supervision could desensitise patients with food allergies, meaning that they would no longer have to avoid certain ingredients.

The trial has also received backing from food businesses including Leon, Elior UK and Burger King UK, as well as Greggs, Tesco, Just Eat, Co-op Morrisons, KFC, Bakkavor, Sainsbury's, Bidfood, Costa Coffee, Pret A Manger, Lidl, Cooplands and Uber Eats.

It is led by a team of researchers at the University of Southampton partnering with Imperial College London and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Newcastle University, University of Glasgow and Sheffield Children's Hospital.

The research foundation was launched by the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died aged 15 in 2016 from a severe allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger baguette containing sesame.

Natasha's Law, a regulation requiring full ingredient and allergen labelling on all food made on premises and pre-packed for direct sale, was put in place in October 2021 and named after her.

Neil Fuller, MD, Caterlink, said: "As a school caterer, we are all too aware of the challenges that so many children, parents and families face at mealtimes when dealing with allergies.

"The research conducted by Natasha's Foundation is going to be vital in helping us all understand and treat allergies and will offer some hope to people living with allergy across the UK and beyond. We are proud to support the work being undertaken."

Nadim Ednan-Laperouse OBE, father of Natasha, added: "We are really pleased that the WSH Group is helping us solve the burgeoning food allergy issue in society which disproportionately affects children and teenagers.

"Caterers working with Natasha's Foundation are helping to pave the way to solving this once and for all and this is a good thing for the sector as a whole."

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