Fylde mum of daughter with deadly egg allergy welcomes Natasha's Law requiring full ingredient lists on all packaged foods

The mum of a six-year-old girl who nearly died after people did not take her egg allergy seriously has welcomed new food safety laws requiring all food shops to provide full ingredient lists and allergen warnings.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 1:01 pm
Elsie Lowe has a potentially life-threatening egg allergy

Emma Lowe's daughter Elsie has an allergy which is so severe she suffers a reaction just from being in the same room as an egg.

The youngster nearly died after eating contaminated food at a Kirkham restaurant in 2017, when she ate a meal which had been resting on a hotplate next to a dish which contained eggs.

Now Emma, 39, from Treales, has welcomed the introduction of 'Natasha's Law' requiring full ingredient and allergen labelling on all food made on premises and pre-packed for direct sale.

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Elsie with mum Emma and brother Ben

The change follows the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, from Fulham, who suffered a severe allergic reaction after eating a Pret-A-Manger baguette she was unaware contained hidden sesame seeds.

Emma said: "I think it's about time. I have seen many horror stories about people having allergic reations. It does need to be taken more seriously. Just the other day I went to the park with Elsie and there was an ice cream stand with a notice saying 'ask for our allergy list', and when I asked they said they didn't have one.

"Every place serving food should have allergens listed."

Emma, a mum of five, was so concerned about her daughter's allergies that she changed her schools after she feared the primary school she originally sent her to did not understand how serious her reactions could be.

She said: "When I go into a restaurant and say my daughter is allergic to eggs, they assume that she's going to come out in a rash. But no - if she comes into contact with eggs, she will have a severe reaction and go into anaphylactic shock. She has an EpiPen for eggs.

"I recently had to pull her out of a party and drive her straight to hospital because her throat started swelling up. They had fish fingers and pizza on a plate. They had touched, so even though Elsie had the pizza, which was egg-free, she had a reaction.

"It's hard to work around Elsie's allergy because eggs are in most things. I tend to have her on a vegan diet because I trust it more than any other food. With vegan food, we know it's being prepared in places with no eggs or dairy products whatsoever, so there's no risk of cross-contamination.

"It isn't easy. When she goes to birthday parties she can't have any birthday cake, and when the kids are opening their party bags and eating the cake I start getting anxious because it only takes a tiny bit for her to react."

Elsie is not the only child who suffered an allergic reaction in a Fylde coast restaurant in recent years.

Zayaan Hussain, two, went into anaphylactic shock after eating a child’s margherita pizza at Pizza Hut on Church Street, Blackpool, in April 2018.

The toddler had a life-threatening dairy allergy, and so his parents informed the restaurant and ordered him a vegan pizza. But their waiter accidentally asked chefs for a vegetarian dish instead.

READ: ‘Pizza restaurant meal mix-up could have cost us our son’s life’Emma said: "People don't really take allergies that aren't nut allergies seriously. But now they have to. It's the law.

"I think children should be taught about allergies as well. Even if they haven't got an allergy themselves, teach them how dangerous it is. They need to learn. We teach them about basic first aid, so why not allergies too?"

NATASHA'S LAW

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse went into anaphylactic shock within minutes of take off on a British Airways flight to France, shortly after eating Pret-A-Manger sandwich which she bought at Heathrow airport in July 2016.

The 15-year-old was known to have severe allergies to milk, eggs, banana, nuts and sesame seeds, and both she and her dad, Nadim, checked the ingredients. But the artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette contained sesame seeds that were baked into the dough, which were not listed on the packaging.

Nadim administered two adrenaline shots to his daughter in an effort to save her life, but she remained unable to breathe and suffered multiple heart attacks. She later died in a French hospital on July 17.

Following her tragic death, her family campaigned tirelessly for stricter food labelling laws.

Her mum Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, told BBC Breakfast: "Today we really feel like we've achieved it and it feels really special."

Nadim said: "Nearly all of us live a life of eating food on the go... buying something from some kind of chain or individual cafe where you grab and go. Previously there's been no requirement to have any ingredient list or markings on these packages of food that are pre-prepared and made on the premises and sold on that day. Now with Natasha's Law they are legally obliged to put the full ingredient labelling on it, and also highlight to 14 main allergens involved, so that when they are sold later that day... people can actually pick that sandwich or salad or pre-prepared food and know exactly what's in it, and therefore make safer choices."