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Pret CEO says allergen death inquest was ‘worst period of his life' as firm implements five-point plan

03 May 2019 by

Pret has begun the roll-out of full ingredient labels on its food nationwide as it implements a five-point allergy plan following the deaths of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and Celia Marsh.

The new labels were introduced in 20 London sites this week, with a full roll-out expected to be implemented over the summer.

Alongside full and clear labelling, the five-point plan includes the introduction of digital tablets with full ingredient listings, the changing of 70 recipes to remove unnecessary allergens, the public sharing of quarterly incident updates and developments to its allergy training programme.

The action followed a coroner's ruling into the allergen-related death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died from a severe allergic reaction after eating an artichoke and olive tapenade baguette purchased at Heathrow Airport, which contained sesame. The coroner had described Pret's allergy labelling as "inadequate".

The second woman Celia Marsh, 42, died in December 2017 after eating a super-vegan rainbow flatbread that contained traces of dairy. Pret has maintained the cause of her death was a dairy-free coconut yogurt from firm Coyo. Coyo denied the allegations.

Clive Schlee, chief executive of Pret A Manger, told ITV News earlier this week that the time he spent hearing testimony at the inquest into Natasha's death was "the worst period of his life". He added: "Everyone in Pret has felt that burden. Pret is a very real company with very real people and we were shocked."

In a statement on the firm's five-point plan, Schlee said: "The issue of allergies has struck a deep chord within Pret A Manger following the tragic deaths of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and Celia Marsh.

"We said we would learn from the past and make meaningful changes. This plan brings together some of the most important changes we have been making to help customers with allergies.

"At the heart of the plan is the roll out of full ingredient labels on Pret's freshly made products. Thanks to the dedication of many Pret Team Members, we have been able to show that full ingredient labelling is operationally possible in small kitchens when proper care is taken.

"Pret's Allergy Plan will tackle many of these issues - and help to ensure that every customer has the information they need to make the right choice for them."

More than half of allergy sufferers have had reactions triggered by 'safe' restaurant food, survey suggests >>

Wake-up call: Prepare for changes to allergen labelling >>

Tougher allergen rules proposed including full ingredient labelling >>

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