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Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse’s daughter Natasha, 15, ate sesame seeds in the dough of an artichoke, olive and tapenade sandwich bought from Pret A Manger at Heathrow Airport.
She was killed by anaphylaxis after collapsing on a flight to Nice in 2016.
Under “Natasha’s Law” food businesses must include full ingredients labelling on pre-packaged food.
It comes after hospital admissions from food allergies trebled in two decades.
The law will protect sufferers and give them more confidence in the food they buy.
Owner of Wow Toys Nadim, 56 – who was on the flight with Natasha – and Tanya, 54, have waged a tireless campaign to strengthen food labelling rules. They set up the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, where Tanya works full time. The pair, from Fulham, London, said: “Over the last five years there has been little to celebrate as we try to learn to live with Natasha’s death.
“Today, when Natasha’s Law comes into force across the UK, is an exception.”
The couple, who also have a son, Alex, 18, added: “Nothing can bring Natasha back. We have to live with that reality every day. But we know in our hearts that Natasha would be very proud that a new law in her name will help to protect others.” It requires all food which is pre-packed for direct sale to be fully labelled with the name of the food and a full ingredients list. All 14 major allergens must be emphasised in the list.
This includes grab-and-go type food such as prewrapped sandwiches.
Before today, the allergen information for these types of products could be provided by any means, including staff telling customers the ingredients or in some form in writing.
Emily Miles, chief executive of the Food Standards Agency, said: “This law is a huge step in helping improve the quality of life for around two million people living with food allergies.
“If these changes drive down the number of hospital admissions caused by food allergies, which have seen a threefold increase over the last twenty years, and prevent further tragic deaths such as Natasha’s, that can only be a positive thing.”
If a customer suffers an allergic reaction because the rules are not being followed, a food business could be prosecuted by their council.
Ms Miles said: “I understand how difficult the past 18 months have been for food businesses.
“So I am grateful for the effort so many have made to prepare for the changes and enable people to make safe decisions.”
COMMENT BY NADIM AND TANYA EDNAN-LAPEROUSE
Five years ago our beloved daughter Natasha died from a severe allergic reaction to sesame seeds hidden in a baguette, bought from a UK cafe chain.
There was partial labelling on the sandwich but no mention it contained the ingredient, and Natasha, 15, was reassured that it was safe to eat.
It had devastating consequences.
Determined to protect others from avoidable, potentially fatal allergic reactions to food we launched a campaign to change the law – and we succeeded.
Natasha’s Law requires all food outlets to display full ingredient and allergen labelling on every item made on the premises and pre-packed for direct sale – items such as sandwiches, cakes and salads.
Natasha’s Law is about saving lives. This change in the law brings greater transparency about food.
It will give people with food allergies confidence when they are buying prepackaged food for direct sale such as sandwiches and salads.
Everyone should be able to eat food safely.
There is still so much that needs to be done to support people with food allergies.
We set up The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation in 2019 to fund vital medical research and raise awareness.
The charity recently launched a campaign urging the Government to appoint an Allergy Tsar, a champion for sufferers to ensure they get correct support.
To sign the petition for an Allergy Tsar go to: petition.parliament.uk/ petitions/589716
- Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse – Founders of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation
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