The family of an allergy sufferer who died after eating a Pret a Manger sandwich have backed a coroner’s call for a system of recording serious cases of anaphylactic shock.
Celia Marsh, 42, who had an acute dairy allergy, ate a super-vegetable vegan wrap contaminated with milk from the chain’s Bath store.
The yogurt dressing in the wrap was later found to be contaminated with traces of milk protein stemming from a starch manufactured in a facility handling dairy products.
Maria Voisin, senior coroner for Avon, made several recommendations in a prevention of future deaths report after an inquest into Mrs Marsh’s death, including improved reporting of anaphylaxis incidents and a robust system to ensure food labeling is current.
The report has been sent to several organisations, including the Food Standards Agency, the UK Health Security Agency, the Department of Health and Social Care, the British Retail Consortium and the Food and Drink Federation.
the question, which concluded in Septemberheard that Mrs. Marsh died on 27 December 2017 after eating the wrap.
The mother of five, a dental nurse from the town of Melksham in Wiltshire, bought the wrap at 2.08pm and within 15 minutes entered into acute anaphylactic shock.
She was declared dead at 4pm.
The wrap contained a coconut yogurt dressing from the Australian brand CoYo, which was licensed for manufacture in the UK to the British firm Planet Coconut.
An ingredient in the yogurt, a starch called HG1, had been cross-contaminated with milk protein during its manufacture.
‘Beloved mother and wife’
Mrs Marsh’s family said they welcomed the publication of the coroner’s report “as the next step in our fight to make the world a safe place for allergy sufferers like our beloved mum and wife”.
They hoped the necessary organizations will “start working together” to record fatal and near-fatal anaphylactic reactions to allow the public to be alerted of unsafe allergen products.
“This will ensure important lessons can be learned with the appropriate enforcement action being taken,” they added.
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In the report, Ms Voisin also emphasized her concerns about the public’s understanding of the wording used on certain foods, such as “free from” and “vegan”.
“Foods labeled in this way must be free from that allergen, and there should be a robust system to confirm the absence of the relevant allergen in all ingredients and during production when making such a claim,” she said.
“With respect to those with the most severe food allergies, it may be necessary in the interim to clarify that foods labeled ‘free-from…’ may not be safe to consume.”
Mrs. Marsh’s death came after that of a 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperousewho died in 2016 after eating a Pret baguette containing sesame seeds bought at Heathrow Airport.
Her death prompted an overhaul of food laws, which now require retailers to display full ingredient and allergen labeling on every food item made on the premises and pre-packed for direct sale, including sandwiches, cakes and salads.