Pret A Manger is to have full ingredient labels on all freshly made products by the end of the week.
The business said it had made one of the biggest operational changes in its history by rolling out the labelling across all 391 of its UK shops.
All Pret freshly made sandwiches, salads, baguettes and soups will now labelled on-pack each day with a full list of ingredients, with the presence of any of the 14 EU declarable allergens highlighted in bold.
The move follows the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who had an allergic reaction to the sesame used in the dough of a Pret baguette. Following the inquest, Pret pledged to introduce full ingredient lists on all of its products.
In June this year, new legislation was announced that will come into force in October 2021 and will require all food pre-packed directly for sale to carry a full list of ingredients.
Since November, Pret staff have been labelling products using two new pieces of equipment: individual recipe cards, enabling staff to prepare food in on-site kitchens and print off a bespoke label; and new tablets to keep a record of each product that leaves the kitchen.
The labelling is part of a new Pret allergy plan that sets out priorities including the launch of new menu tablets in every shop, the removal of allergens from a range of Pret products, and a commitment to produce quarterly food safety reports.
“In less than a year, we have made the biggest change to Pret kitchens in our history,” said Pret CEO Pano Christou.
“Software developers have created new labelling technologies. Walls have been knocked down to provide extra space in our kitchens. Electricians have been to every shop, weaving wires through some of the oldest buildings in the UK.”
Natasha’s mother, Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, said Pret had shown that the food industry was capable of providing full allergen and ingredient labelling.
“One year on from Natasha’s inquest, we are extremely pleased that Pret a Manger has delivered on its pledge to learn the lessons and bring meaningful change for all allergy sufferers,” she added. “Pret has taken the lead and we urge others to follow suit and prevent families in the future from suffering as we will always do.”
News of the new labelling legislation received a mixed reaction from the food industry, with some trade groups raising concerns that it would be difficult for some businesses to introduce.
The Food Standards Agency last week announced action to alert consumers and businesses to food allergy risks following the death of a teenager who had an allergic reaction to buttermilk.