‘Natasha’s law’ introduced for food allergy sufferers after teen died from eating Pret baguette

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after she ate a Pret sandwich at Heathrow Airport (Picture: PA)

A law to protect food allergy suffers will be introduced following the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

The 15-year-old died three years ago after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette.

“Natasha’s law” will be introduced by environment minister Michael Gove and will require all food businesses to include full ingredients labelling on pre-packaged food.

The legislation, which will apply to England and Northern Ireland, is due to come into force by summer 2021, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

"Natasha's law" will be introduced to protect food allergy sufferers following the teenager's death (Picture: PA)

Natasha, from Fulham, west London, suffered a severe allergic reaction after unknowingly eating sesame contained in an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette she had bought from a Pret a Manger at Heathrow Airport.

The teenager died of anaphylaxis after collapsing on board a flight to Nice on July 17, 2016.

Her parents have previously called for the law to make all pre-packaged food clearly show allergens, which they have discussed with Mr Gove.

Under current rules, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold – such as a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff – is not required to display allergen information on the package.

The new legislation will tighten the rules by requiring foods that are pre-packed directly for sale to carry a full list of ingredients, Defra said.

Natasha's parents, Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, said they were "delighted" with the new law (Picture: PA/Getty)

Natasha’s parents, Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, said the introduction of the law would be a “fitting legacy” following their daughter’s death.

They said: “We are absolutely delighted that the secretary of state has announced the government’s decision to go ahead with full allergen and ingredient labelling.

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“While Natasha’s Law comes too late to save our beloved daughter, we believe that helping save other allergy sufferers and their families from the enduring agony that we will always bear is a fitting legacy for her life.

“We would personally like to thank Michael Gove and health secretary Matt Hancock for their unflinching support in doing the right thing on behalf of all people with allergies, and their support in setting up the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation which we are launching today in Natasha’s memory.”

The trade body which represents the UK’s hospitality sector acknowledged the “sensitivity” around the legislation being introduced, but cautioned that new food labelling practices could be “impractical and potentially hazardous”.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “We are worried that full ingredient labelling is going to prevent the kind of dialogue we need to promote.

“Some smaller businesses may struggle with the unwieldy new legislation and it is almost certainly going to lead to much less choice for customers.

“There is also a risk that the new measures, which will not circumvent cross-contamination and will be open to mislabelling, will only promote a dangerous reliance on labelling.”

Although the new legislation is due to be introduced by the summer, businesses will be given a two-year implementation period to adapt to the change, the department said.

Mr Gove called Natasha’s parents an “inspiration” following the announcement of the law.

Natasha, from Fulham, west London, died in July 2016 (Picture: PA)

“Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse have been an inspiration in their drive to protect food allergy sufferers and deliver Natasha’s Law,” he said.

“These changes will make food labels clear and consistent and give the country’s two million food allergy sufferers confidence in making safe food choices.”

Heather Hancock, chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said the change will mean “better protection” for allergic consumers.

Allergy UK chief executive Carla Jones also welcomed the announcement, saying the national charity was “delighted” with the legislation.

“This move towards full ingredient labelling for pre-packed direct-sale food will improve the lives of the allergic customer and it is warmly welcomed here at Allergy UK,” she added.

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