‘Natasha’s Law’ Will Put Allergen Warnings On Food Packaging
By Sofy Robertson
Sandwich shops across the country are to be forced to introduce new allergen warnings under a proposed law which will be unveiled in the next few weeks.
The change was brought on by the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who was only fifteen when she died in 2016 after eating a Pret a Manger baguette that contained sesame seeds, to which she was severely allergic.
Natasha’s parents, Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, said that they were determined that Natasha will not have died in vain.
However, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, is likely to face a battle from the food industry over his department’s proposals that all pre-packaged foods include a list of ingredients causing allergic reactions or a full ingredient list.
The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association commented on the proposal this weekend, saying such measures would be “onerous” for many outlets and there would be a risk of mistakes. (The Times)
Natasha’s parents are concerned that those with food allergies are given a false sense of security by the lists on food packets, which offer information on just a selection of the ingredients inside. They are campaigning for all the ingredients to be labelled, with allergens highlighted in bold.
In Natasha’s case, there was no indication on the packaging of the Pret baguette that she bought to warn her that it contained sesame seeds, which were baked into the bread.
Mr and Mrs Ednan-Laperouse claim that people with allergies are often perceived as “fussy” or difficult and that the seriousness of their condition is not appreciated. Natasha’s father, Nadim, explained:
“’Natasha’s Law’ is right in every sense. It is just being open about what is in food.”
Gove paid tribute to the couple’s “inspirational work” this weekend after such a tragic loss. He said:
“The law must change and we are working at pace to bring forward proposals shortly.”
Pret a Manger has already publicly announced that it will introduce full lists of ingredients on its products. A spokesperson commented:
“We have launched a pilot of full-ingredient labels on our freshly made products and we will be rolling these out nationwide later this year.”