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Full ingredient labelling to be rolled out

Pret A Manger is to begin a nationwide roll-out of full ingredient labels on all its products following the death of two customers.

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Full ingredient lists, including allergen advice, will now be printed on Pret’s food packaging

The new labels will arrive in 20 London stores this week and will be rolled out nationwide by the end of the summer.

In July 2016, 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse suffered a fatal allergic reaction to sesame after eating a baguette from a Pret store at Heathrow Airport, which had no allergen information printed on the packaging.

In December 2017, 42-year-old Celia Marsh sadly died after suffering a fatal reaction to dairy after eating a flatbread which she believed to be free of dairy, however contained contaminated yoghurt.

Despite the catastrophic effects of poor labelling, there was no legal requirement for Pret to include allergen advice on its wrappers.

Current laws require pre-packaged food such as ready meals or sandwiches made in factories and sold in supermarkets to have full allergen labelling.

However, allergen labelling is not currently required by law in the UK for food cooked by restaurants and fast food outlets on site. Staff are still required to provide allergen information if requested by a customer.

...there can be no guarantees where allergies are concerned but what we can guarantee is you’ll get the right information

The tragic consequences of poor allergen labelling and dangerous gaps in the law have since sparked a large movement by health executives for better regulations.

A joint consultation held by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Food Standards Agency, and the Department of Health concluded on March 29th, 2019, and results are expected soon.

In his first interview since the allergen crisis, Clive Schlee, chief executive officer of Pret A Manger, has told ITV that the shock of Ednan-Laperouse’s death has generated the biggest change in company policy in Pret’s 30-year history.

“Everyone understands that allergies are an area in public health that people don’t know a great deal about, it’s still a very emerging area so there can be no guarantees where allergies are concerned but what we can guarantee is you’ll get the right information,” says Clee, speaking to ITV News health correspondent Emily Morgan.

As well as implementing full ingredient labels on all its products, Pret is also rolling out digital screens to inform customers about what is in its products.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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