Woman with dairy allergy died after eating contaminated Pret wrap, coroner rules

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Woman with dairy allergy died after eating contaminated Pret wrap, coroner rules

A woman with an acute dairy allergy died after eating a Pret a Manger wrap labelled as vegan despite containing traces of milk, a coroner has ruled.

Celia Marsh, 42, died after eating the super veg rainbow flatbread while shopping with her family in Bath in 2017.

The coconut yoghurt dressing had been cross-contaminated with milk protein during manufacture, the coroner Maria Voisin found at an inquest in Bristol on Thursday.

Mrs Marsh, a dental nurse, had been on a shopping trip with her family on 27 December when she ate the Pret wrap.

She was declared dead less than two hours later, having collapsed in the street and despite the efforts of passers-by and paramedics to save her.

Ms Voison said Mrs Marsh had suffered an anaphylactic shock after eating the wrap.

The coroner said: “A product which is marked dairy free should be, free from dairy.

“Celia Marsh was not aware the wrap contained milk protein.”

“The protein was in an ingredient called Coyo that contained an extra ingredient called HG1.

“The contamination arose because the ingredient HG1 was cross-contaminated during manufacture.”

Her husband Andy called for tighter controls said: “He said any manufacturer who makes something labelled ‘free from’ should “take the responsibility for the testing to make sure it is exactly that”.

He added: Celia meant the world to us. She could brighten up your worst days with just one smile.

“She would look at you with her blue eyes and you just felt better. She was a great mum.

“People could tell we were in love by just sitting in the same room as us and us not saying a word to each other.”

He said any manufacturer who makes something labelled ‘free from’ should “take the responsibility for the testing to make sure it is exactly that”.

The coconut yoghurt used as dressing came from Australian brand CoYo, and was licensed for manufacture in the UK to British firm Planet Coconut, the inquest heard.

The CEO of Pret a Manger, Pano Christou, said the company “fully supported” the coroner’s findings.

“As a father and husband, I can only imagine how distressing this has been for Celia’s children and family.

“Our deepest sympathies remain with everyone who knew and loved Celia,” he said.

“As the Coroner made clear, Planet Coconut had information which should have alerted them that their Coyo yoghurt may have contained milk and this information was not passed on to Pret.

“It goes without saying that if Pret had ever known that the Coyo yoghurt may have contained milk, we would have never used the ingredient.”