Second customer dies after allergic reaction to Pret a Manger sandwich

It has been revealed that a second Pret a Manager customer has died after a suspected allergic reaction to one of their products – this following the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse due to a severe allergic reaction, after eating a Pret Baguette bought at Heathrow airport in 2016.The second customer’s sandwich was expected to contain red pepper, edamame beans and dairy-free coconut yoghurt; however, milk protein is believed to have contaminated the product, causing a fatal allergic reaction. Read more.

FACTS has referenced Regulation 146 (Labelling and advertising of foodstuffs), as well as the Consumer Protection Act.

Regulation 146 (labelling and advertising of foodstuffs)

In section 54.3.h, it states that allergens information must be available, upon request, to consumers at point of sale of ready-to-eat foodstuff prepared and sold on the premises of catering establishments. A catering establishment is defined as “any establishment including a vehicle or a fixed or mobile stall where, in the course of business, ready-to-eat foodstuffs are prepared for direct sale to the consumer for consumption”.

The same regulations, in section 44.1, require manufacturers of prepacked food to be able to supply consumers with information regarding the presence of uncommon allergens on request. This section was included in the regulation to create a mechanism through which consumers, with unusual food allergies (or even allergies to food that are not considered to be common allergens, e.g. lupin, sesame, celery, red meat, etc.), can get ingredient information from manufacturers. The “uncommon allergen” definition was purposefully kept open ended so it will cover multiple ingredients.

Consumer Protection Act

The second regulation is of course the consumer protection act. In the act it states that consumers must be protected against hazards associated with products and that they have the right to information in clear understandable language.

Although there are no accurate statistics in SA on other food service related incidences, AFSA and FACTS are fully aware of the need for an increase in allergen awareness in the restaurant, catering and other food service industries.  Please see more details regards the AFSA proposal to roll out FAST training in the near future.