15-Year-Old Girl With A Severe Allergy To Sesame Died After Eating A Baguette At Heathrow. Who's To Blame For Her Tragic Death?
A teen with a severe sesame allergy died after eating a baguette at Heathrow
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a 15-year-old with a severe sesame allergy, ate a Pret A Manger baguette before boarding her flight from Heathrow to Nice on July 17, 2016.
Suddenly, the teen collapsed during the flight. Her father, Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, administered her two epinephrine shots, but to no avail. Natasha died a few hours later.
The girl’s dad told the BBC:
As a family now of three, my wife, son and I are still trying to adjust to life without our beloved girl.
Everything we say and do is a reminder that she isn't with us - her empty bedroom, school uniform hanging in her wardrobe, her holiday bag packed for her holiday in Nice has never been unpacked. We can't bear to.
The company’s representative said in a statement:
We were deeply saddened to hear about Natasha's tragic death, and our heartfelt thoughts are with her family and friends.
The baguette that ended Natasha’s life contained artichoke, olives, and tapenade. It also contained sesame seeds, and they were not on the crust, but rather baked into the baguette.
According to Pret A Manger, their products are not individually labeled with allergen or ingredient information. Instead, customers with allergies are advised to speak to a manager and/or look up the ingredients in the company’s allergen guide.
The company’s representative said:
We take food allergies and how allergen information is provided to our customers extremely seriously.
In the comments on the tragic news, people shared their own experience of having an allergic reaction when eating out and stressed the importance of checking and double-checking the ingredients:
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What is sesame allergy?
Sesame allergy is a fairly common food allergy. It can be mild to severe, meaning affected individuals may have reactions ranging from a mild rash to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
People with a sesame allergy are advised to carry an epinephrine auto-injector with them at all times. They should also check the ingredients of the food they are about to eat for sesame seeds and for products derived from sesame seeds.
If you have a sesame allergy or any food allergy, don’t eat the food you aren’t 100% confident is allergen-free.
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How to eat out safely if you have a food allergy
People with food allergies should be extremely careful when eating out. The following tips may help you make safe choices and avoid emergencies:
- If you’re planning to eat out at a specific place, check their menu in advance and choose something you can eat safely.
- Always notify your server in advance that you are allergic; explain that you may have a severe reaction if you eat even a tiny amount of the ingredient you’re allergic to.
- Always have an epinephrine auto-injector on hand, just in case.
- If you have allergy cards, you can ask your server to give one to the cook.
- If you have the slightest doubt that your request regarding the order has been met, don’t eat the food.
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Don’t think you may sound pretentious when explaining your allergy. Your life depends on it, so make yourself clear to people who serve and cook your food.
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