MP calls for an­swers over Pret death

Western Daily Press - - News -

BATH’S MP says the pub­lic is en­ti­tled to an­swers af­ter a mother died in a sus­pected al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to a sand­wich from a Pret a Manger store in the city.

Wera Hob­house said “a lot of ques­tions” sur­rounded the death of Celia Marsh, who fell ill soon af­ter eat­ing a ‘su­per-veg rain­bow flat­bread’ from Pret’s Stall Street branch in De­cem­ber.

Pret be­lieves the Melk­sham mother suf­fered a fa­tal al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to one of the in­gre­di­ents in the sand­wich, a sup­pos­edly dairy-free yo­ghurt later found to con­tain traces of milk protein.

Mrs Hob­house said: “My heart goes out to the fam­ily and friends of Celia Marsh, who have suf­fered a tragic loss.

“There are a lot of ques­tions here, an­swers to which are un­doubt­edly in the pub­lic in­ter­est.”

Pret a Manger has said the ‘dairy-free’ CoYo yo­ghurt it used in the sand­wich con­tained traces of dairy protein. But the sup­plier, Planet Co­conut, has de­scribed Pret’s claims as “un­founded”.

Mrs Hob­house has called for reg­u­la­tion of the food in­dus­try in the wake of Mrs Marsh’s death, which fol­lowed the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ed­nan-Lap­er­ouse from a se­vere al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to sesame in an un­la­belled Pret baguette in 2016.

“I have some se­ri­ous con­cerns sur­round­ing food in­dus­try reg­u­la­tion,” she said.

“It ap­pears the in­dus­try is in­ca­pable of reg­u­lat­ing it­self, which is ev­i­dently a mat­ter of life and death.

“Put sim­ply, we need to know what is in our food, and the reg­u­la­tory sys­tem needs to pro­tect the pub­lic, es­pe­cially those with se­ri­ous al­ler­gies.”

Celia Marsh died at the Royal United Hos­pi­tal on De­cem­ber 27, 2017.

A date for an in­quest into her death has not been set.

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