The mother of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after a severe reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette, has voiced her shock after seeing café signs banning food allergy sufferers.
Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, from Fulham, criticised one ‘discriminate’ and ‘insensitive’ poster thought to be found outside The Snack Shack sandwich shop in Malpas, Cheshire, which warns customers: ‘Do not enter if you suffer from food allergies’.
The ‘No Entry’ sign was shared online and sparked controversy, with many expressing their outrage over the notice, which added: ‘Food prepared in this facility may contain nuts, milk eggs, tree nuts, shellfish, wheat, soy bean or fish.’
But this seemingly isn’t the only incident of this kind, after Pizza Hut and Leon establishments were also previously accused of pushing out a similar ‘offensive’ warning.
Following her 15-year-old daughter’s death in July 2016 after she ate a baguette laced with sesame seeds not listed on the label, Tanya, along with her husband Nadim, set up the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation and campaigned for Natasha’s Law, which forces food outlets to carry full allergen and ingredient labelling on pre-packaged food made on the premises, such as sandwiches and salads, from October 1.
Speaking to FEMAIL, she said of the sign: ‘It’s the discriminatory nature of it, it’s quite hateful. You wouldn’t do that to any other part of society.
‘Everyone should be able to go out to a café or restaurant without the fear of being treated as a second-class citizen.’
The mother of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after a reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette, has shared her shock after seeing a café sign banning food allergy sufferers (pictured)
Tanya Ednan-Laperouse (pictured with her husband in 2019), from Fulham, criticised the ‘discriminate’ and ‘insensitive’ sign thought to be found outside The Snack Shack sandwich shop in Malpas, Cheshire, which warns customers: ‘Do not enter if you suffer from food allergies.’
Following her daughter’s death in July 2016 after she ate a baguette laced with sesame seeds not listed on the label, Tanya, along with her husband Nadim, set up the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation and campaigned for Natasha’s Law, which forces food outlets to carry full allergen and ingredient labelling on pre-packaged food made on the premises, such as sandwiches and salads, from October 1
‘The world isn’t like it was 50 years ago, we shouldn’t be stuck in that mindset.
‘Imagine if you or your child has a food allergy and you see that. I was just shocked, I was shocked that they felt that they could do it.
‘It was the “we don’t want you” attitude that was just so shocking,’ she added.
‘As a parent, you’re always trying to make sure that [your child] knows their food allergy doesn’t define them – but when you see these signs, that defines them as being unwelcome, and excluding them from society. It’s very hurtful.’
Tanya explained how her daughter Natasha had often asked why she was the only one in their family to suffer from food allergies and had to miss out on ‘so much’ when she was little.
‘She used to say “why me?” It sounds silly when you say it, but she had to miss out on birthday parties when the whole class was going.
But this seemingly isn’t the only incident of this kind after Pizza Hut and Leon establishments were also previously accused of pushing out a similar ‘offensive’ warning (pictured)
A mother in 2019 claimed a Leon restaurant had told her not to eat at its business because of her son’s allergies (pictured, her tweet)
‘It’s really sad, it did make her feel different because she missed out on things.’
Tanya says no excuses should be made for banning people who suffer from food allergies, and instead proper protocols should be put in place to support businesses on how to safely prepare food.
She added: ‘Food allergies are a severe yet increasingly common illness, affecting 2million people in the UK. Preparing food that is suitable for everyone, including those with food allergies, is part and parcel of the catering and food industry.
‘Yet we hear repeatedly that some cafes and restaurants are refusing to serve people with food allergies because they are unable to guarantee allergen-free meals.
Terrifying air ordeal that began just three minutes after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse bit into her sandwich
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, who was allergic to sesame, died after eating a Pret baguette that didn’t list it as an ingredient
July 17, 2016: BA flight BA342 from Heathrow Terminal 5 to Nice lasted approximately 1 hour 50 mins.
9.50am: Natasha bought the sandwich and developed an itchy throat around three minutes later.
10.15am: After take off she took a dose of Piriton to try and counter the itchy throat.
10.45am: Natasha developed large red welts on her stomach and her father took her to the toilet and administered two EpiPens.
10.50am: Natasha loses consciousness.
10.55am until 11.45am: Doctor Pearson Jones attended to Natasha for the next 50 minutes, including CPR when she suffered a cardiac arrest while the flight was descending into Nice.
Midday: Five French paramedics attend to her while the plane is on the tarmac for around an hour. She is then transported to the local A&E department but her heart failed to properly restart.
8pm: Natasha is pronounced dead in hospital.
‘If you’re not able to put systems in place and put in the effort and time then you shouldn’t be in the business,’ Tanya, who believes signs like this are a growing problem, concluded.
The poster was posted on a closed Facebook group for UK parents of children with nut and peanut allergies, which has more than 8.5k followers.
Comments included: ‘It’s ridiculous and ignorant towards allergies. Surely discrimination.’
Another social media user said: ‘What a lazy, ignorant and discriminatory sign. My peanut allergic 12-year-old would be really upset if he saw that sign on a shop. Totally insensitive.’
A third wrote: ‘I am shocked and angry. If you had a physical disability, would it be acceptable to have a sign to say “do not enter”.’
Meanwhile, an Instagram user shared a poster thought to be placed outside a Pizza Hut reading: ‘Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee any of our food is 100% allergen free.’
The customer shared a snap of the sign along with the caption: ‘Wow, seen this and had to share! A large restaurant chain saying none of their food is suitable! Awful and not acceptable!’
A spokesperson for Pizza Hut said: ‘Ensuring the welfare of our guests is extremely important. All of our allergen and nutritional information is available in a printed book in each of our Huts and also online.
‘As our kitchen prepares food with all of the ingredients on our menu, we cannot guarantee any of our food is 100 per cent allergen free.
‘If a customer is concerned we urge them to speak to our staff, who all receive specialist training. Due to the variety of ingredients used within the menu, and the diverse range of enquiries, we do also direct guests to check the information for themselves through the formats available.’
Meanwhile, in May, one blogger who suffers from food allergies, revealed on Twitter that they were asked to ‘sign an allergy waiver’, insisting: ‘Let’s put a stop to this!’
But it appears this isn’t just a recent development, with a mother in 2019 claiming a Leon restaurant had told her not to eat at its business because of her son’s allergies.
Posting on Twitter, the parent wrote: ‘Just been told by @leonrestaurants on The Strand *not* to eat there if our son’s allergies are ‘life-threatening’. He says it’s a ‘new policy’. We’ve previously had great service – now you decided you can’t cater?
Replying at the time, Leon said: ‘We’re so sorry about your visit to our Strand restaurant, Alexa. It’s definitely not our policy to refuse service to any guest.
‘We’ve sent you a fuller reply on email and would love to hear your experience and work with you on how we communicate allergens at Leon.’
Following an inquest into Natasha’s death, Pret a Manger’s CEO at the time said his company would ensure there was ‘meaningful change’ following her passing.
Then CEO Clive Schlee said: ‘We are deeply sorry for Natasha’s death. We cannot begin to comprehend the pain her family have gone through and the grief they continue to feel.
‘We have heard everything the Coroner and Natasha’s family have said this week. And we will learn from this. All of us at Pret want to see meaningful change come from this tragedy. We will make sure that it does’.
What is Natasha’s Law?
From October 1, Natasha’s Law comes into force which requires food businesses to provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on foods prepackaged for direct sale on the premises.
The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association (BSA) has said the new legislation will require investment and extra staff time to label products according to the law.
Director of BSA, Jim Winship, told the British Baker website: ‘We are concerned that it may lead to greater problems for consumers than it solves, particularly in relation to cross-contamination in businesses with small food preparation areas.’
Under current EU rules, if food contains any of 14 different types of allergens it must be highlighted on the label.
However, this only applies to pre-packaged food that has been made in a factory or kitchen off-site before it reaches the shop or restaurant in which it is being sold.
Food made and packaged on the premises is not covered by the current law – the loophole that resulted in Natasha’s death.
Natasha, from Fulham, south-west London, collapsed after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette on a British Airways flight on her way to a dream holiday in Nice.
The coroner at her inquest said she died of anaphylaxis after eating the Pret sandwich containing sesame, which she was allergic to.