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The wrap had contained yogurt that was supposed to be vegan but was later found to have traces of dairy protein in it. The mother of five suffered from a severe dairy allergy and Avon Coroner’s Court was told she “religiously avoided” all such products following a near-fatal allergic reaction months earlier.
Mrs Marsh’s death followed that of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in 2016 after eating a Pret baguette containing sesame seeds, bought at Heathrow.
Natasha had a sesame allergy. The tragedy sparked an overhaul of food labelling laws last year. Retailers must now display full ingredient and allergen labelling on food made on the premises as well as pre-packed items.
Mrs Marsh, a dental nurse from Melksham, Wilts, had been on a post-Christmas shopping trip with her husband and three of her daughters when she went into a Pret in Bath, Somerset. In his statement, Andy Marsh said his wife had begun to feel “a bit funny” after eating the wrap.
He said: “We started walking down the narrow side street… Celia had her asthma inhaler out.
“She used it a couple of times and I asked her if she was OK. She said she was struggling to breathe but it may be because of the cold air. We then moved to a small side street on the left and I pulled her to one side.”
He said Mrs Marsh had thought she was “being silly” because the sandwich had been labelled vegan.
He added: “She had her EpiPen in her hand and I said to her that if she thought there was any chance she was having a reaction that she should just do it and use the pen.
“She then said to me ‘You need to phone an ambulance’.”
Mr Marsh said he phoned 999 by which time his wife had collapsed and was being tended to by an off-duty GP.
A civil servant who came to her aid said a crowd had formed as she lay on the ground.
He described the scene as “disturbing” and said he saw Mr Marsh attempting to comfort his young daughter.
Mrs Marsh was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead at 4pm.
Pret was charged with food safety failures, but the prosecution was later dropped due to lack of evidence.
The company said it would fully co-operate with the inquest, which is continuing.
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