New Pret a Manger owner backs company’s CEO after teenager died from allergic reaction to baguette
Pret a Manger’s new owner has stood by the food chain’s pressured CEO Clive Schlee after a teenager died from an allergic reaction to one of the company’s baguettes.
The coroner investigating the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse concluded allergy labelling on Pret’s products was inadequate.
JAB, a Luxembourg-based German-owned investor, announced its acquisition of Pret in May.
The company told the Sunday Times: “This is a tragic case. Inadequate laws mean that better standards are needed across the industry to keep consumers with severe allergies safe.
“We have asked Clive Schlee, Pret’s CEO, to work with regulators to ensure that new food labelling laws are introduced in the UK. Under Clive’s direction, Pret will very rapidly take action to ensure it is the leader in this critical area of food safety.”
Fifteen-year-old Ednan-Laperouse collapsed on a plane to France with her father after eating a baguette from Pret a Manger bought at Heathrow Airport.
The label did not mention that the bread contained sesame seeds, which Ednan-Laperouse was highly allergic to. Two hours later she had died from a cardiac arrest.
The coroner found last week that “there was no specific allergen information on the baguette packaging or on the food display cabinet, and Natasha was reassured by that.”
He said the labelling was “inadequate” for not warning of “hidden” sesame seeds.
CEO Clive Schlee said: “We are deeply sorry for Natasha’s death. We cannot begin to comprehend the pain her family have gone through and the grief they continue to feel.
“We have heard everything the Coroner and Natasha’s family have said this week. And we will learn from this.
“All of us at Pret want to see meaningful change come from this tragedy. We will make sure that it does.”
Pret a Manger turned over £879m last year, up over 13 per cent from 2016. It added 58 new shops to its stock of over 500 globally.