The brother of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse had recalled how he only had ‘ten seconds to talk to his sister’ in a heartbreaking phone call before she died from a severe allergic reaction on a flight to France.
The 15-year-old, from Fulham, west London, died in July 2016 after eating a baguette she was unaware contained hidden sesame seeds, and her parents Tanya and Nadim have since successfully campaigned for a new law in their daughter’s name.
Natasha’s Law, which comes into force on Friday, requires all food retailers to display full ingredient and allergen labelling on every food item made on the premises and pre-packed for direct sale.
Writing for the Sunday Telegraph, her brother Alex remembered the moment he was told his sister was going to die and the few seconds he spoke to her to tell her he ‘loved her very much’.
The brother of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse has recalled how he only had ‘ten seconds to talk to his sister’ in a heartbreaking phone call before she died from a severe allergic reaction on a flight to France. Pictured, Alex with parents Nadim and Tanya
The 15-year-old (pictured), from Fulham, west London, died in July 2016 after eating a baguette she was unaware contained hidden sesame seeds
‘Tash was unconscious but I thanked her for being such a great sister to me and told her I loved her very much’, wrote Alex. ‘I only spoke to her for 10 to 15 seconds and then the phone call ended.’
Natasha went into anaphylactic shock within minutes of take off on a British Airways flight to France after buying a sandwich at a Pret-A-Manger branch in Heathrow airport.
Alex, who was 13 at the time, had remained in the UK while Natasha and her friend flew to the south of France as a summer holiday treat.
Three hours after dropping them off at Heathrow, Natasha’s mum Tanya got a call saying that her daughter was severely unwell on the plane and was unconscious.
Natasha (L-R) went into anaphylactic shock within minutes of take off on a British Airways flight to France after buying a sandwich at a Pret-A-Manger branch in Heathrow airport
As the mother tried frantically to get a ticket to France, a friend drove Alex to their grandmother’s home. At his point, Alex believed ‘with all his heart’ that his older sister was going to survive.
‘Later that day I got a phone call from my dad saying that Tash was going to die in a few minutes and I had to say goodbye’, penned Alex. ‘My mum was still at Stansted airport because her flight had been delayed so she had to say goodbye over the phone too.’
The 15-year-old knew she was allergic to milk, eggs, banana, nuts and sesame seeds so along with her dad, Nadim, had checked the label carefully.
But the artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette contained sesame seeds that were baked into the dough and were not visible or listed in the ingredients.
She fell ill while in the air and despite efforts to give her adrenaline shots, she was unable to breathe and suffered a heart attack and later died in a French hospital on July 17, 2016.
Nadim, 56, administered two Epi-pens – which delivered potentially lifesaving adrenaline to his daughter as she struggled to breathe – but they did not work and she suffered multiple cardiac arrests.
Since her death Natasha’s parents – Nadim and mum Tanya – have waged a tireless campaign to strengthen food labelling rules and better protect the estimated two million food allergy sufferers in Britain.
A loophole in the law meant Pret – and other firms like it – were not obliged to provide a full list of allergens on products made in their stores.
Her parents Tanya and Nadim (pictured) have successfully campaigned for a new law in their daughter’s name. Natasha’s Law, which comes into force on Friday, requires all food retailers to display full ingredient and allergen labelling on every food item made on the premises and pre-packed for direct sale
As of last Friday, more pre-packaged food like takeaway sandwiches, cakes and salads will be required to have their full ingredients and allergy details listed on the item.
Changes ushered in by the law apply to businesses selling their own pre-packaged food at other outlets they run – which will include market stalls and mobile food vans.
Under current legislation, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information in writing.
As a result, there was no specific allergen information on the packaging of the baguette that caused Natasha’s fatal reaction.
‘Natasha’s Law is vital to protect the 2 to 3 million people in the UK living with food allergies from life-threatening allergic reactions’, said Nadim on Friday.
‘This change in the law brings greater transparency about the foods people are buying and eating; it will give people with food allergies confidence when they are buying pre-packaged food for direct sale such as sandwiches and salads.
‘Everyone should be able to consume food safely.’