Pret A Manger has pledged to list all ingredients, including allergens, on products that are freshly made in its kitchens.
The move follows last week’s inquest into the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the 15-year-old who died after eating a Pret baguette made with dough containing sesame, to which she was allergic.
Pret does not put individual ingredient or allergen labels on products freshly prepared in shop kitchens, but has allergen signage on each fridge and at till points advising customers with allergies to speak to a manager about seeing its allergen guide.
Under current regulations, there is no obligation for businesses to label allergens on foods prepared on the same premises as they are being sold.
But today (3 October) Pret has said it is to change its labelling policy and will start trialling full ingredient labelling – including allergens - on product packaging from next month. It said this would be rolled out to all UK shops as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, the company said it would ensure in the coming weeks that:
- Prominent allergen warning stickers were placed on all individual freshly made products
- Additional allergen warning signs were displayed in shops; and
- Full ingredient information, including allergens, for all products was available online and in shops.
Pret also said it would improve its complaints handling procedures to ensure allergy-related incidents were immediately escalated and reported on within 24 hours.
Last week’s inquest heard that a Pret complaint log showed nine cases of sesame-related allergy incidents between 17 July 2015 and 29 June 2016. Four of these had led to customers seeking hospital treatment, while another went to a medical centre.
“I want to say again how deeply sorry we are for the loss of Natasha,” said Pret chief executive Clive Schlee today.
“I said we would learn from this tragedy and ensure meaningful changes happen. I hope these measures set us on course to drive change in the industry so people with allergies are as protected and informed as possible. Nothing is more important to Pret right now.”
Coroner Dr Sean Cummings, who recorded a narrative conclusion at the inquest, said at the time that he would write to environment secretary Michael Gove, questioning allergen food labelling regulations.