Coroner rules food labeling ‘inadequate’

By NOA ISRAEL

In 2016, Nadim Ednen-Laperouse experienced every father’s worst nightmare while on board a British Airways flight. His daughter, 15-year-old Natasha experienced an allergic reaction shortly after the flight began, while efforts were taken by the crew to save her life, she died shortly after at the hospital.

Natasha and her family were aware of her life-threatening allergies and took precautionary measures everywhere they went, checking food labels and carrying epi-pens in case of emergency. While at the airport, Eden-Laprouse explained, his daughter found a Pret a Manger baguette in Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport in London. They both meticulously inspected the label before determining there were no listed allergens that could adversely affect her.

She consumed the baguette before boarding the plane. Approximately 25 minutes into the flight to Nice airport, Natasha began to experience an itchy throat and after going to the bathroom, her father explained, returned with large welts covering her stomach. The Epipen was administered, but did not relieve the reaction.

Natasha pleaded with her father to help her, telling him that she “could not breathe,” but there was nothing he could do. The BA crew and a young doctor on board worked to save her life for the remainder of the flight but to no avail, she suffered cardiac arrest and died later at a hospital in Nice.

After his daughter’s death, Eden-Laprouse discovered that the Pret a Manger baguette did in fact contain sesame seeds, an ingredient not listed on the label and the cause of his daughter’s allergic reaction. Pret responded to this by saying “[Pret]¬†chooses to deliver allergy information orally and is supposed to have stickers within fridges telling customers to ask staff members for details.” However, it does not seem any stickers were up at the time.

CNN reported on Thursday that the coroner, Sean Cummings, recently stated that, “There was no specific allergen information on the baguette packaging or on the (food display cabinet) and Natasha was reassured by that.” He ruled the labeling inadequate and will now move forward to speak with the Environment secretary on the matter of food labeling.