Celia Marsh: Household criticise yoghurt firm for failing to flag allergen threat

Celia Marsh: Household criticise yoghurt firm for failing to flag allergen threat


he household of a girl with an acute dairy allergy who died after consuming a Pret a Manger sandwich contaminated with milk say her dying was “fully avoidable”.

Celia Marsh, 42, a dental nurse from Melksham, Wiltshire, died on December 27 2017 after consuming a brilliant veg vegan wrap from the sandwich chain’s Bathtub retailer.

The yoghurt dressing within the wrap was later discovered to be contaminated with traces of milk protein stemming from a starch manufactured in a facility dealing with dairy merchandise.

The mother-of-five bought the wrap at 2.08pm, and inside quarter-hour entered into acute anaphylactic shock.

She was declared lifeless at 4pm.

On Thursday, a coroner at Avon Coroner’s Courtroom in Bristol, concluded that the yoghurt producer had documentation warning it of the chance of cross-contamination of the starch.

The CoYo branded yoghurt, which is Australian, was licenced for manufacture within the UK to an organization referred to as Planet Coconut.

Luggage of the HG1 starch, produced by Tate and Lyle PLC, carried the warning “manufactured in a manufacturing unit that handles milk, eggs, cereals containing gluten, sulphur dioxide and sulphites”.

Coroner Maria Voisin stated Pret a Manger had not been alerted to the chance, and that the yoghurt was labelled as “dairy free”.

Ms Voisin stated: “The contamination (of the wrap) arose as a result of an ingredient within the yoghurt referred to as HG1 had been cross-contaminated with milk protein throughout its manufacture.

“The producer of the dairy-free yoghurt had in its possession documentation that flagged this threat however this threat was not handed on to its clients.”

Talking outdoors of the inquest, Mrs Marsh’s daughter Ashleigh Grice stated: “It’s now virtually 5 years since our mum Celia was taken from us, she knew she had a critical meals allergy – due to that fixed worry mum was extraordinarily cautious in all she ate, checking each label, typically triple checking, for dairy.

“On that horrible day she trusted the ‘dairy free’ labelling within the Pret a Manger retailer, however the vegan wrap had been contaminated with milk protein.

“The contents was toxic to her and he or she collapsed on the street.”

Ms Grice added: “It’s now clear to us that if Planet Coconut had handed on the warnings of their possession to Pret a Manger concerning the threat of cross-contamination, mum would nonetheless be alive as we speak.

“Mum’s dying, like so many different allergy deaths, was fully avoidable.”

Pret a Manger chief government Pano Christou stated: “As a father and husband, I can solely think about how distressing this has been for Celia’s youngsters and household. Our deepest sympathies stay with everybody who knew and cherished Celia.

“We absolutely assist the coroner’s findings. Because the coroner made clear, Planet Coconut had info which ought to have alerted them that their Coyo yoghurt could have contained milk and this info was not handed on to Pret.

“It goes with out saying that if Pret had ever recognized that the Coyo yoghurt could have contained milk, we’d have by no means used the ingredient.

“On Pret’s half, we’ve taken vital steps ahead with our suppliers and labelling insurance policies since 2017.

“By means of the Pret allergy plan, we made a transparent dedication to steer the business in creating new insurance policies for individuals with meals allergic reactions. We’ll proceed to do all the things we will to assist each buyer get the data they should make the best alternative for them.”

A spokesman for Planet Coconut stated the corporate had “co-operated absolutely” with the inquest.

The corporate believed that the yoghurt was made in a “dairy-free manufacturing atmosphere”, he added.

“Our ideas stay as ever with the household of Mrs Marsh,” the spokesman stated.

Mrs Marsh’s dying got here within the wake of that of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in 2016 after consuming a Pret baguette containing sesame seeds purchased at Heathrow Airport.

Ms Ednan-Laperouse had a sesame allergy.

The tragedy sparked an overhaul of meals labelling legal guidelines which now requires retailers to show full ingredient and allergen labelling on each meals merchandise made on the premises and pre-packed for direct sale, together with sandwiches, truffles and salads.

Natasha’s mom Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, co-founder of The Natasha Allergy Analysis Basis, which has been supporting the Marsh household, stated: “The good tragedy of allergy deaths is that they’re principally avoidable. Celia’s husband and 5 daughters need to reside with this horrible fact.

“Classes have to be not simply discovered however actioned.”

The Natasha Allergy Analysis Basis is looking for anaphylaxis to be made a “notifiable illness” that means all incidents have to be reported to Authorities authorities with a view to monitor it and construct prime quality information.

Mrs Ednan-Laperouse stated: “This could lead to prompt precautionary product remembers which may save lives, and an correct image of the true toll of the numbers of significant incidents and fatalities from meals anaphylaxis.”

Mrs Marsh’s household are additionally calling for anaphylaxis to be made a notifiable illness.

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