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Published 2018-10-19
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The harrowing story of a teenager dying from the negligence of food

It seems that allergies are much more common nowadays than some years ago. However, we have to realize that adverse reactions to some products have always existed. The problem is that just now, with the advancement of technology and medicine, we can discover what the allergens are and what could cause the damage. People diagnosed with some type of hypersensitivity should be very careful with everything they eat and what they are surrounded every day. It is important to mention that allergies can be not only food, but also we can be allergic to some animals or cleaning products.

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However, we must admit that the most popular reactions are precise to some types of food. In our article today, we want to present the tragic story of a teenager, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died two years ago, while traveling with her dad and a friend from the London school to Nice. The young woman was extremely allergic to sesame and even a small amount of that seed could be very dangerous for her health and for her life. Unfortunately, the food producer did not warn her that food could have that allergen.

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At the end of September, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse's parents revealed the last heartbreaking words that they told their daughter, only 15 years old, before dying after suffering a severe allergic reaction to a sandwich bought at a local "Pret a Manger" According to reports, the teenager, a native of Fulham, fainted while on a British Airways plane from London to Nice after eating that appetizer, which had sesame, to which she was really allergic…

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Although the tragedy took place in July 2016, several details related to the passage of time have been revealed. When speaking with reporters, the family of the deceased asked for a change in the laws of food labeling, since "they had played Russian roulette" with the life of their daughter. In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, her mother, Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, spoke about the last time she spoke to her daughter on the phone when she was in the hospital since she could not be by her side because she was in Nice.

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The 51-year-old woman told the newspaper: "I said, Tashi, I love you very much, baby, I'll be with you soon, I'll be with you because when you have children, you do not want them to be without you, do they? I fell to the ground, I could not talk, I was in pain, and then I knew that she was gone, that she was dead." Natasha had been at the Stansted airport with a friend, about to travel on a British Airways flight, before eating a "Pret A Manger" sandwich…

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Dr. Sean Cummings, who was treating Natasha, realized that the labeling of the sandwich did not include the allergen that killed the young woman, he was able to see shortly after. As a consequence, the adolescent suffered an anaphylactic shock and, subsequently, a cardiac arrest. The father Nadim, 53, said she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder since the death of his daughter. "I love my daughter very much, as a father, I would die a thousand times, crucified, for her to live, I spent 15 years cultivating the most precious thing in my life..."

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Mrs. Ednan-Laperouse added that she "spent a year on the couch" after the death of her daughter and that she kept her room the same way as if she had not left. During the investigation, it emerged that the previous year she had been given a "specific warning" about the dangers of not indicating the allergen to the food chain. It was said that the baguettes described as "artisan" could contain sesame seeds, including the one Natasha swallowed by accident…

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A record of complaints to the company between July 17, 2015, and June 29, 2016, showed at least nine cases of incidents of allergies related to sesame. Four of them caused clients to seek hospital treatment, while another went to a nearby medical center; more than a year after the complaints, the store changed the label design of the interior of its refrigerators, informing customers that they should request information from the staff about possible allergies…

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The executive director of the company, Mr. Schelee, said: "We deeply regret the death of Natasha, we cannot even understand the pain her family has suffered and the grief they continue to feel... We have heard everything the coroner and the family Natasha have said this week, and we will learn from this, all of us at Pret want to see a significant change in this tragedy, we will not make sure that is so." In this way, the store has accepted the labeling completed on all its recently made products…

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It should be noted that the baguette that Natasha ingested did not have any allergen rabbits in its packaging since there was no requirement to do so due to the reduction of the requirements in the food produced in the same place. In the investigation into the death of the girl, the coroner explained her concerns about such regulations: "It seems a bit strange that a local sandwich shop can benefit from that regulation... but that an organization that sells 218 million items a year also they can do it... "

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"A cynic might think that it was almost a device to obtain complete regulation in relation to information about food allergens." According to the rules in force for articles made in the store, it is sufficient that the general warnings about allergens be published inside the premises, instead of the packaging of each product, and that the staff provides specific rabbits orally. Pret a Manger announced that it will go beyond that to introduce full labeling of ingredients…

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"I hope these measures will help us drive change in the industry so that people with allergies are as protected and informed as possible." Nothing is more important to Pret at this time. In this way, the company said that "The complete labeling of ingredients will be introduced in all the products that are prepared in their kitchens, listing all the allergens." It is a real tragedy that a labeling error has killed a young woman with a lifetime in front…

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Her father Nadim said she died due to "inadequate food labeling laws," and joined the rest of his family to call for a change in the law and save lives. When they received the news of the change in Pret a Manger, he said: "We cautiously welcome the decision of the store, and we hope that this will quickly lead to better labeling in all of its stores." Pret says he has recognized that there is much more he can do.

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"We would like to thank the public and the media for all their incredible ongoing support." Jill Paterson, of the Leigh Day law firm, which represents the family, said: "Pret a Manager's decision on the labeling of all its products must be well received, but the facts mean more than the words. with our clients to organize a lasting legacy for Natasha, not just a new legislation, but also a significant change for all people with allergies... "

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Teresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that the government would analyze the responsibilities of companies in relation to food labeling. When asked if the government would bring a kind of "Natasha Law" to try to prevent more such deaths, May told the BBC: "Obviously, this was an absolutely tragic case and our thoughts are still with his family. and friends about what happened... Of course, we also have to see this problem, the responsibilities of individual companies... "

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"This is something that has been an absolute tragedy, and our condolences and sympathies are with her family and friends," he concluded. Finally, Natasha's father told BBC Radio: "At Natasha's funeral, in front of 500 people, I promised that we would have justice for her death, justice for the future that no one else should suffer such unnecessary and useless death. She was a very energetic girl, full of life, and always defended the helpless... she is famous for that".

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