A millionaire toy tycoon is demanding answers after his daughter, 15, died of a severe allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger sandwich while on a flight from London to Nice.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse bought the artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette from a shop at Heathrow Terminal 5 before collapsing on the British Airways flight.
The Fulham schoolgirl was careful to check the food she bought for allergens, but on this occasion the sesame seeds had been baked into the bread.
She only realised that something was wrong when red welts started to appear on her skin and her father administered to first of two EpiPens she carried in case of an emergency.
But despite the shot, she began to hyperventilate and was given another unsuccessful dose before going into cardiac arrest and dying in a Nice hospital.
An inquest will take place this week in London and will hear evidence from the family, the manager of the Pret store and the head of safety at the UK-based food chain.
According to the Observer, her father Nadim, who founded Wow Toys, said: “As a family now of three, my wife, son and I are still trying to adjust to life without our beloved girl.
“It’s a daily battle and the pain is indescribable. Everything we say and do is a reminder that she isn’t with us; her empty bedroom, school uniform hanging in her wardrobe, her holiday bag packed for her holiday in Nice has never been unpacked. We can’t bear to.”
The inquest is expected to examine product labelling laws and investigate whether they need to be tightened.
The sesame seeds are believed to have been baked into the bread, rather than have been spread over the crust.
Sesame is one of 14 allergens that EU laws say must be listed in pre-packaged food made off-premises.
But loopholes mean companies including Pret do not have to list the information on food prepared on the same day in an on-site kitchen.
Instead, signs on shelves and tills at Pret warn customers of potential allergies or encourage them to speak to staff.
It is understood the case could trigger civil actions should the coroner find problems with the allergy information.
The inquest will also hear from British Airways staff over their actions to save Miss Ednan-Laperouse and what training and equipment was provided for such a situation.
A spokesman for Pret said: “We were deeply saddened to hear about Natasha’s tragic death, and our heartfelt thoughts are with her family and friends. We take food allergies and how allergen information is provided to our customers extremely seriously. We will continue to do all that we can to assist the Coroner’s inquest.”
The company added that it provides an Allergen Guide in shops showing those contained in its products.
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