‘It’s a shambles.. it makes me very angry’: Family of girl, 15, who died from allergic reaction after eating Pret sandwich slam findings of new probe that shows bakeries still flouting labelling rules
- Reporters from BBC1’s Watchdog Live posed as customers with food allergies
- Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda found to have incorrect and confusing information
- More than a quarter did not give adequate information to undercover reporters
- Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s parents slammed the findings calling it a ‘shambles’
- Natasha, 15, died after suffering a reaction to incorrectly labelled Pret sandwich
The parents of a Natasha Ednan-Laperouse have slammed the findings of a BBC investigation showing bakeries are still flouting labelling rules.
Natasha, 15, died on an aeroplane in front of her distraught father after eating an inaccurately labelled Pret sandwich laced with sesame seeds.
Despite calls for better labelling protocols, an investigation by BBC1’s Watchdog has proven supermarkets are failing to warn customers about potentially lethal allergens in bakery products, leaving the schoolgirl’s family incensed.
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Natasha (pictured) died after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette from a Pret A Manger at Heathrow Terminal 5
‘It makes me really angry,’ Natasha’s mother Tanya said, after watching the undercover footage.
‘That information can really make or break whether somebody has an anaphylactic reaction’ she added. While Natasha’s father Nadim called the findings a ‘shambles’.
In the footage, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda staff gave incorrect and confusing information about goods containing nuts, milk, sesame seeds and other common allergens.
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More than a quarter of branches in the exposé did not give satisfactory information to undercover reporters from BBC1’s Watchdog Live programme when they posed as customers with food allergies.
In one Asda store, staff said selected bakery products didn’t contain sesame when it was listed as an ingredient on the website and at other branches.
The claims emerged after the inquest into Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, who died from an allergic reaction to sesame seeds in the dough of a Pret A Manger baguette, which had no warning on its wrapper.
Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda staff gave incorrect and confusing information about goods containing nuts, milk, sesame seeds and other common allergens
In September, a coroner criticised Pret’s labelling, warning: ‘Future deaths could occur.’
Dr Sean Cummings who blasted their ‘inadequate’ packaging and said Natasha was falsely ‘reassured’ by wrappers and store signs at Heathrow Terminal 5.
Watchdog Live host Steph McGovern said yesterday: ‘Given how dangerous it is for someone to consume something they are allergic to, you would think companies would print labels which have the allergy information on. We are talking about life or death.’
In its investigation, three Asda stores visited by the Watchdog Live team did not give correct information about allergens.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse parents were shown the footage by the BBC
More than a quarter of branches in the exposé did not give satisfactory information to undercover reporters from BBC1’s Watchdog Live programme when they posed as customers with food allergies
Although staff gave general warnings that products may be contaminated with nuts or seeds, they could not identify specific major allergens contained within the recipe.
Footage shows how a Sainsbury’s worker reassured an undercover reporter that raisin whirls, which contain almonds, ‘haven’t got nuts in’.
When asked by the reporter a second time, the worker said he would check the product information guide, adding: ‘I know it hasn’t got anything in it, but I can show you in case you’re a bit unsure.’
Watchdog Live host Steph McGovern (pictured) said yesterday that you would think companies would print labels which have the allergy information on
A senior staff member at a Tesco store (pictured stock image) could not find ingredient information for an unpackaged panini containing milk when a journalist posed as someone with a milk allergy
The programme also discovered that Sainsbury’s product guides, which are meant to provide safe, consistent information for staff and customers, contained conflicting information about the presence of almonds in the same raisin whirls in two neighbouring stores.
A senior staff member at a Tesco store could not find ingredient information for an unpackaged panini containing milk when a journalist posed as someone with a milk allergy. The programme secretly filmed staff at 24 supermarket branches, five of which gave alarming advice about allergens.
It focused on bakeries at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. It found no cause for concern at branches of Morrisons.
Sainsbury’s (pictured stock image) was found to have not listed any of the 14 major allergens on packaging or shelf labels on any in-store bakery products
Sainsbury’s did not list any of the 14 major allergens on packaging or shelf labels on any in-store bakery products, but did advise asking a member of staff.
Asda’s in-store bakery packaging and shelf labels did not list specific allergen ingredients, but carried general advice that products may contain allergens.
Tesco listed major allergens on most in-store bakery products, but not loose bread rolls, paninis and pastries in some stores.
Sainsbury’s said: ‘Customer safety is our priority. We are updating labels to include more specific allergen information.’
Tesco said: ‘We exceed legal requirements by providing allergen information on all products packed in store by our bakers. For loose bakery items, we display signs asking customers to speak to colleagues.’
Asda said: ‘Our bakeries feature clear signage on the potential for allergens and our bakery products are labelled to warn of the potential presence of nuts, seeds and other allergens.’
The full report can be seen on Watchdog Live tonight.
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