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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Pret A Manger cleared of allergy offence after student's collapse

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Pret A Manger

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Pret A Manger has been found not guilty of a food safety offence after a student suffered a severe allergic reaction.

Isobel Colnaghi was rushed to hospital after eating sesame in a sandwich from the chain’s SouthGate shopping centre in Bath in November 2017.

Bristol Crown Court heard a staff member told her it did not contain sesame, which she is allergic to.

A jury acquitted the company of the charge following a week-long trial.

Miss Colnaghi checked the packaging of the curried chickpea and mango chutney sandwich before asking a staff member whether the item contained sesame.

It was alleged the staff member failed to check the store’s allergen guide, which would have confirmed the sandwich did contain sesame, and wrongly told Miss Colnaghi it did not after looking at a shelf label.

‘Following procedures’

Miss Colnaghi ate a few bites of the sandwich but quickly began feeling unwell and was later taken to the Royal United Hospital in Bath by ambulance having suffered an anaphylactic shock.

The court was told the member of staff, Roberto Rodriguez, no longer works for Pret A Manger, has left the UK and solicitors have been unable to contact him since 2019.

Kate Brunner QC, prosecuting, said Miss Colnaghi made a full recovery and Mr Rodriguez appeared to believe he was following the company’s procedures.

Pret A Manger (Europe) Ltd had denied one charge of selling food not of the substance demanded.

A spokeswoman from the chain said: “At Pret we continue to do everything we can to support customers with allergies and in 2019, we became the first food-to-go business to introduce full ingredient labels on all freshly-made products.

“We remain 100% committed to the actions we set out in the Pret allergy plan, so that every customer has the information they need to make the right choice for them.

“We wish Ms Colnaghi all the best for the future.”

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