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Statement from the Ednan-Laperouse family

Following the conclusion of a week-long inquest into the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse at West London Coroner's Court a statement has been given by Natasha's family and the family's legal team.

Posted on 29 September 2018

Natasha died after eating a sandwich baguette from Pret a Manger and suffering an allergic reaction while on a British Airways flight. 

Video of Natasha and her friend on the plane shortly before her death, video released at the request of the Laperouse family.

The Laperouse family said in a statement following the conclusion of the inquest:

“We would like to thank the Coroner, Dr Sean Cummings for how he has handled Natasha’s Inquest, and our legal team for their support throughout. We would also like to thank the public for the kindness they have shown, the media for their sensitive reporting and would like to express our sincere gratitude to Dr Pearson-Jones for his efforts to save Natasha’s life.

“This has been an incredibly difficult week for us as a family, but the process has however, shed light on very important issues that led to Natasha’s death, not just for us as Natasha’s family, but for all allergy sufferers. 

“Our beloved daughter died in a tragedy that should never have happened and we believe that the inquest has shown that she died because of inadequate food labelling laws.

“We were also shocked to learn that there have been a number of previous serious allergic incidents, involving sesame seeds in Pret a Manger food, before our daughter died.

“It feels to us that if Pret a Manger were following the law, then the law was playing Russian-Roulette with our daughter’s life.

“It is clear that food labelling laws as they stand are not fit for purpose and it is now time for the law to change. Natasha’s inquest should serve as a watershed moment to make meaningful change to save lives.”

Jill Paterson, partner at law firm Leigh Day, who is representing the family said:

"What we have learnt over the past 5 days is that Natasha died of anaphylaxis as a result of ingesting hidden sesame in a Pret a Manger Artichoke, Olive and Tapenade baguette.
"The Inquest has made it clear that the lack of allergen labelling on food led to the death of a 15 year old girl.
"The law as it stands currently treats multinational companies in the same way as the local sandwich shop. This cannot be right.
"We call on Michael Gove to take immediate action in response to the Coroner’s report and we also call upon the manufactures of Epipen to take action.
"The Coroner found that Pret a Manger’s procedures for recording and monitoring reports of problems with foods or items purchased at Pret were inadequate and incoherent.
"We hope that lessons will be learnt from this Inquest so that this sort of tragedy never happens again.

“The law states that where food is prepared on the premises, one option for retailers is that they do not need to label all the ingredients on food and can instead opt to provide any allergen information orally, provided there is signage which is readily discernible encouraging the customer to ask a member of staff for the details.

“This allows a companies such as Pret, which sells 218 million items a year and is worth £1.5bn to operate in the same way as a small single-store sandwich shop.

“Our clients believe the practicalities of this law mean that large numbers of consumers who suffer from allergies are left exposed to potential safety issues. When it is a matter of life and death, this cannot be right.”