People who demand dairy-free food then tuck into ice cream put those with genuine allergies in danger, writes Jane Bradley
Allergies are deadly. That is something which has been hammered home in the past days: initially with the heartbreaking inquest into the death of Natasha Ednan-laperouse, then with the tragic news of a second victim of food bought at a branch of Pret a Manger, Celia Marsh.
Both of these deaths could have been avoided had the victims been aware of what they were actually eating. Both knew they had potentially fatal allergies and were said to be generally very careful about what they ate.
In the case of the 15-year-old Ms Ednan-laperouse, who had a sesame allergy, the allergen was baked into the product.
As a society, we are not taking allergies seriously enough. Earlier this week, the professional body for environmental health workers warned that a loophole needs to be closed in order to prevent more deaths occurring as a result of poor food labelling. Pret, they say, “did nothing wrong”; instead the regulations surrounding food labelling are not fit for purpose.
Consumers are also not taking the issue seriously. It’s fun to play around at being what is perceived as healthier by cutting things out. If you don’t have an actual allergy, stopping eating gluten or dairy can make you feel rather smug.
For people with real allergies, however, the problem is acute. The tiniest trace of the allergen can cause a potentially life-threatening reaction.
In the case of Mrs Marsh, the yoghurt the company says she ate was thought to be dairy-free. Pret alleged the problem was that the supplier, coconut yoghurt provider Coyo, had not taken precautions to make sure that no dairy could enter the manufacturing process
Celia Marsh died after eating a super-veg rainbow flatbread bought at this branch of