Leon not ‘turning away' allergy sufferers but being ‘open and honest' about risks

21 January 2019 by
Leon not ‘turning away' allergy sufferers but being ‘open and honest' about risks

Leon has said it is not "turning away customers" with serious allergies, but stressed the importance of being open and honest about communicating risks.

The company responded to headlines this weekend, which followed a blog post in which the healthy fast food chain had said: "The idea that Leon could cause harm to one of our guests is horrifying. And we would therefore ask those of you with serious allergies, to consider carefully whether you choose to dine with us."

The chain had said that despite the focus it puts on processes, training and checks, it could not provide a 100% guarantee that mistakes would not be made.

Responding to initial reports, it clarified: "We are absolutely not turning away customers. We have two responsibilities to guests with severe allergies: to minimise the risks and to communicate the remaining risks.

"Like every other restaurant operating a fresh kitchen, it is not possible to guarantee that any dish is 100% allergen free. We feel it's crucial that we have an open and honest conversation about this issue and we are determined to put the wellbeing of our guests first."

In November staff at selected Leon stores started to question customers about allergens at the point of ordering.

The move was introduced following an inquest into the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who had suffered an allergic reaction to Pret a Manger baguette in 2016. The coroner reported that Pret's allergy labelling had been "inadequate".

In a September email to customers, Leon said the death had "rightly re-focused everyone in the industry on the critical importance of properly communicating allergens".

It went on to make allergen information more visible in stores and removed almond milk as their dairy alternative for drinks, replacing it with allergen-free oat milk.

Leon launches trial that sees staff ask customers about allergies at point of ordering>>

Michael Gove pledges change to allergen labelling rules after teenager's death>>

Pressure mounting on operators after allergen deaths>>

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