Natasha’s Law, which comes into effect next month, is a great step forward for those, like me, who suffer from anaphylaxis.
It means food and drink businesses must provide a full list of ingredients and allergen labelling on foods which are packaged for sale on the premises. You can find out more about it here.
However, it still doesn’t remove the need of the anaphylaxis sufferer to check labelling, and take care about what they eat. It does however mean that the food industry also has to take their share of the liability, and care for all of their customers when food is packaged and sold on site.
It is tragic that it took the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died aged 15 after consuming a sandwich which had been prepared and packaged on site which contained sesame. She died on an aircraft as her father tried desperately to save her. She’d purchased the sandwich prior to boarding. I have always supported the aims of her parents in trying to ensure others do not suffer the same fate. It’s been a long fight for them.
There are over two million of us in UK who are allergy sufferers, and it is always hard for us to buy, or eat in restaurants with confidence or buy snacks or buy freshly prepared packaged foods and feel 100 per cent safe eating them.
If most people eat something that doesn’t suit them, they might have a coughing fit, or throw-up, or have to rush to the loo. However, they don’t face death by just eating one mouthful of the wrong food.
This can be the most tragic outcome of an anaphylactic episode.
For me however Natasha’s Law is important yet it’s not enough.
Owen’s Law is another campaign set up by grieving parents.
Owen Carey was celebrating his 18th birthday with his family and girlfriend, on a day out in London in 2017.
He had suffered with multiple food allergies his entire life, and was used to ordering meals to fit his restricted diet.
For his birthday, they went to a burger restaurant, where after explaining his allergies to the server, as there was no information on the menu, he was assured that the grilled chicken burger he ordered would be ‘plain grilled’, and therefore safe for him to eat.
The information he was given was wrong and it cost him his life. The chicken had been marinated in buttermilk. Something that Owen was highly allergic to. As soon as he had eaten only a small amount, he could tell something was wrong. His breathing became more and more restricted, and he constantly used his asthma inhaler, as he and his girl-friend journeyed to what was supposed to be the second half of his celebratory day.
Forty-five minutes later, at the London Eye, Owen collapsed, having suffered a massive anaphylactic reaction. Paramedics and then a team at St. Thomas’ Hospital tried to help him, but were unable to resuscitate him.
What is Owen’s Law?
Owen’s family are campaigning for a change to be made in law, around how allergy information is displayed and given in restaurants in the UK.
The hope is, that a simple change in labelling and staff training will prevent any future needless deaths of people with food allergies.
Owen’s family have been in dialogue with the Food Standards Agency, The Anaphylaxis Campaign and the Government to try to move this law forward.
Some good news – the company who owned Bryon Hamburgers Ltd has gone into administration, and the new CEO, has agreed to change Bryon’s menus to state the allergens in each dish on the face of their menus.
Also, Wetherspoons is already Owen’s Law compliant! The family hope to get other restaurants to adopt it.
I started Creative Nature because I had problems being able to find food that was safe for me to eat.
Now all of our products are 14-allergen free-from, they are gluten, dairy, wheat and nut free, and some are also organic.
I will continue to support campaigns like Natasha’s Law and Owen’s Law, because it is something close to me, and I’m passionate about make life safer for allergy sufferers.
I look forward to a time when people are not dying because they ate the wrong food.
If you would like to support the petition for this law, please go to Owen’s Law website, under the section The Petition & Politicians.
For more information about Natasha’s Law: