A second person believed to have died after suffering an allergic reaction from food at Pret a Manger bought their sandwich in one of the chain’s Bath outlets, it has emerged.
The person died on 27th December 2017 after eating a ‘super-veg rainbow flatbread’ from the Stall Street branch, which had been labelled as ‘dairy-free’.
This second allergy death comes after 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after eating a Pret a Manger baguette in 2016.
Speaking about the Bath incident, Pret said it was mis-sold a ‘guaranteed dairy-free yoghurt’ by one of their suppliers.
Yoghurt in the ‘super-veg rainbow flatbread’, which was supplied by Coyo, a brand of coconut milk which stocks shops and supermarkets across the UK, contained traces of a dairy protein, according to Pret, and two independent authorities.
In a statement, the sandwich shop said: “COYO, the dairy-free yoghurt brand, supplied a dairy-free yoghurt to Pret that was later found to contain a dairy protein.
“We believe this resulted in the tragic death of a customer from an allergic reaction in December 2017.
“We stopped selling all affected products as soon as we were made aware of this incident. Testing by Pret and two independent authorities found that COYO’s dairy-free yoghurt did in fact contain traces of dairy protein.
“We informed the Food Standards Agency which led to a national product recall of COYO from all supermarkets and other shops. Pret ended its relationship with COYO U.K. and is in the process of taking legal action.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of our customer in this terrible case and we will look to help them in any way we can.”
Pret a Manger withdrew all of their affected products after they were alerted to the fatal allergic reaction by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
In February 2018, CoYo recalled all of its dairy-free coconut yoghurts, after they’d been found to contain dairy. However, the company says this was completely unrelated to the incident in Bath and have said the claims by Pret a Manger ‘are unfounded’.
In a statement, CoYo said: “The claims made by Pret are unfounded. The dairy-free product we provided to Pret in December 2017, at the time of this tragedy, is not linked to the product we recalled in February 2018.
“The product recalled in 2018 was made with a contaminated raw material that was only supplied to us in January 2018.
“Pret’s inability to provide us with a batch code, despite several requests, has severely limited our ability to investigate this further.
“In February 2018, working closely with Bexley local Authority and the FSA, we issued a precautionary product recall after trace amounts of dairy ingredients were identified in materials used to make our product. This contamination was traced to a third-party supplier who we no longer work with.
“This product withdrawal only effected product produced in the UK as COYO Australia and COYO US sources from a different supply base not effected by the cross contamination.
“We have always taken food safety and allergen control extremely seriously. As a consequence of the UK withdrawal COYO has tightened its controls to now test all ingredients prior to use through a third party, even where suppliers guarantee them to be free of dairy protein.
“All COYO manufacturing facilities are solely dairy-free and do not produce any dairy products, which makes our allergen control even more robust.
“Being dairy-free sits at the heart of everything we do and we’ve always taken great care to ensure we provide our customers with high-quality, dairy-free products, made in our own dairy-free factory.
“COYO will continue to cooperate with all authorities and assist the inquest in finding the true cause. We urge all parties to work together, and not to speculate on the cause of this tragic death which is unknown as far as we are aware and is still being investigated by the Coroners court.”
Following the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016, Pret will now list all ingredients, including any allergens, on its freshly made products.
We’ve reached out to Pret a Manger to find out what allergen testing is performed on products bought in from their suppliers, and will update this story when we receive a response.