Pret A Manger was NOT found guilty of food safety violation after student suffered anaphylactic shock
Pret A Manger is NOT found guilty of food safety violations after student suffered severe allergic reaction from eating a sesame sandwich
- Isobel Colnaghi suffered anaphylactic shock at a Pret store in Bath, Somerset
- A jury ruled that the employee who sold her the sandwich was to blame, not Pret
- The employee has since left the country and has not been heard from since 2019
Pret A Manger has been found not guilty of a food safety violation after a student suffered anaphylactic shock while eating a wrap.
Isobel Colnaghi was taken to hospital by ambulance after an employee mistakenly told that a chickpea and mango chutney sandwich did not contain sesame.
Her body went into shock after taking just a few bites at a store in Bath, Somerset on November 26, 2017.
The Bristol Crown Court jury was told that Ms. Colnaghi had checked the packaging before asking an employee if the item contained sesame.
Student Isobel Colnaghi suffered anaphylactic shock after being misinformed by a Pret employee at the Bath SouthGate Shopping Center branch
The staff member, Roberto Rodriguez, would have looked at a label on the refrigerator where Mrs. Colnaghi picked up the sandwich and told her it wasn’t.
He wouldn’t have checked Pret’s allergen guide at the time, which would have flagged that the item contained sesame.
The former Pret A Manger employee is said to have since left the country and lawyers have not been able to get hold of him since 2019.
However, the company’s attorney argued that it was the employee who was to blame for not following the proceedings, and not Pret’s own training practices.
An employee, Roberto Rodriguez, is said to have incorrectly informed Ms. Colnaghi that the chickpea and mango chutney sandwich contained sesame.
On that basis, the jury today concluded that the fast food chain is not guilty of selling food that is not of the requested substance, in violation of the Food Safety Act 1990.
Prosecutor Kate Brunner QC told the jury that Mr. Rodriguez appeared to believe he was following the company’s procedures during the incident.
She went on to say that the company’s ‘policies, documents and training were everywhere’ and argued that the company needed to prove that it had taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to ensure that staff consult the allergen guide before advising customers.
However, Jonathan Laidlaw QC, who represented Pret A Manger, argued that the incident was due to Mr. Rodriguez’s human error.
He said the instructions to staff on what to do when an allergen question was asked was “straightforward and consistent.”
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, and dental nurse Celia Marsh, 42, both died of allergic reactions after eating Pret A Manger products that were incorrectly labeled or contaminated
A Pret A Manger spokesperson said: “ We welcome the court’s decision on this incident in 2017.
At Pret, we continue to do everything we can to support customers with allergies and in 2019 we were the first food-to-go company to introduce full ingredient labels on all freshly made products.
“We remain 100% committed to the actions outlined in the Pret Allergy Plan so that each customer has the information they need to make the right choice for them.
“We wish Mrs. Colnaghi all the best for the future.”
In the same year, 42-year-old dental nurse Celia Marsh, also at a Bath facility, died after eating a package of dairy products sold as dairy-free.
Ms. Marsh’s husband took Pret to court, but had to drop the case for lack of evidence.
In 2016, British 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died of a nut allergy on board a flight to Nice after eating a mislabeled Pret A Manger baguette.
A new law named in her honor is set to go into effect this summer requiring all food companies to include complete ingredients on packaged foods.