LONDON (AFP) - The family of a British teenager who died from an allergic reaction to a sandwich called on Friday (Sept 28) for a change in the law on food labelling, as an inquest into her death ended.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, who suffered from numerous allergies, went into cardiac arrest on a 2016 flight from London to Nice after eating a baguette containing sesame seeds from sandwich chain Pret A Manger.
There was no allergen information on the packaging or the store's food display cabinet, but this is not required by British law.
A coroner concluded the teen had been "reassured by that" and said he would advise the government on whether food labelling regulations should be tightened.
Mr Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, the victim's father, said the inquest "should serve as a watershed moment to make meaningful change to save lives".
"If Pret A Manger were following the law, then the law was playing Russian Roulette with our daughter's life," he said in a family statement.
"It's clear that the food labelling laws as they stand today are not fit for purpose and it is now time to change the law."
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse had the fatal reaction aboard a British Airways plane in July 2016 after buying the baguette, which had sesame seeds inside its dough, from a Pret outlet at London Heathrow airport.
At the time, the company relied on stickers on food display units highlighting that allergy information was available by asking staff or visiting its website.
During the hearing, it emerged the chain had received a "specific warning" the previous year about the dangers of not signposting the allergen after multiple sesame-related incidents.
"Overall I am left with the impression that Pret had not addressed the fact that monitoring food allergy in a business selling more than 200 million items a year was something to be taken very seriously indeed," said Dr Sean Cummings, acting senior coroner for west London.
Mr Clive Schlee, chief executive of the chain, which has more than 500 stores including in Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai and several US cities, said it was "deeply sorry for Natasha's death".
"All of us at Pret want to see meaningful change come from this tragedy. We will make sure that it does," he said.