New laws will be introduced to protect allergy sufferers following teenager’s death

Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 13:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 15:13 pm

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse. Food allergy sufferers are due to be protected under a new law introduced. Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire

A new bill designed to protect allergy sufferers is to be introduced, following the death of a teenager in 2016.

Known as “Natasha’s Law”, the bill will require all food manufacturers to clearly label every single ingredient of a product on the packaging.

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Michael Gove, along with the Department of Environment, Food, and rural Affairs (Defra) has introduced the bill following a campaign by the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after suffering a severe reaction on a flight between London and Nice in 2016.

Sandwich did not have all the ingredients on the label

She died from anaphylaxis, after collapsing on the flight.

Natasha, 15, had unknowingly eaten sesame, which she was allergic to, in an artichoke, olive and tapenade sandwich from Pret a Manger at Heathrow Airport.

She didn’t know she couldn’t eat the sandwich as the packaging didn’t contain specific allergen advice for people unable to eat sesame.

Natasha’s parents Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse have campaigned for legislation to ensure that ingredients are properly listed on all pre-packaged foods.

Current rules state that food pre-prepared on the premises in which it is sold does not need to display information about allergens.

When will the legislation be put in place?

The legislation, which will apply to England and Northern Ireland, is set to come into force by the summer of 2021.

Manufacturers are allowed a two-year implementation period to bring the changes into effect.

Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse told Press Association that 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.

“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.”

“Deeply sorry”

Pret a Manger said it was "deeply sorry for Natasha's death" and said it would be listing all ingredients on its freshly made food.

A spokesman said: "Full ingredient labels are now in over 60 Pret shops as part of our nationwide rollout.

"Before we took this step, we ran a number of pilots to confirm that this approach would be safe, practical and effective.

"We are pleased that the Government has chosen to support full ingredient labelling."