Second Pret A Manger customer ‘who died from allergic reaction’ identified

A second Pret A Manger customer thought to have died from an allergic reaction to one of the chain’s products has been identified as a mum.

Celia Marsh, 42, died last December after she is believed to have eaten a "super-veg rainbow flatbread" which was supposed to be dairy-free.

Her death followed that of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered a deadly allergic reaction to a Pret baguette in 2016.

Celia, from Melksham, Wiltshire, was laid to rest by her loved ones in January this year after she passed away just two days after Christmas.

A "lovely lady" whose favourite colour was pink, she is thought to have left behind a partner and young children.



Today, a spokesman for Avon Coroner’s Court in Avon, Bristol, said an inquest into Celia’s death will be held at a date yet to be fixed.

The mum is believed to have suffered a fatal allergic reaction after buying the flatbread from a store in Stall Street in Bath, Somerset.

Pret said the flatbread she ate contained a yoghurt that was supposed to be dairy-free, but was found to be contaminated with dairy protein.

But the company who sold the sandwich chain the yoghurt has denied that it is to blame and has said the "true cause" of Celia’s death is unknown.

Pret said it withdrew all affected products as soon as it was made aware of the incident by Bath and North East Somerset Council.


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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it investigated supplier CoYo, which then issued an allergy alert and recalled its coconut yoghurts.

However, CoYo denied the recall was linked to the death and accused Pret of hampering its own probe by ‘failing to provide vital information’.

"The claims made by Pret are unfounded," a spokeswoman for CoYo said yesterday.

Pret said it had been "mis-sold" the guaranteed dairy-free yoghurt by CoYo that was discovered to contain dairy protein.

It is thought Celia collapsed and died on December 27 after suffering a severe reaction to this protein in the £3.75 flatbread.

Vegan firm CoYo, a coconut milk brand that has been endorsed by TV cook Nigella Lawson, recalled the yoghurts in February.



But the company’s spokeswoman said: "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.

"Pret’s inability to provide us with a batch code, despite several requests, has severely limited our ability to investigate this further."

Speaking last night, a Pret spokesperson said: “Our deepest sympathies are with the family in this terrible case and we will seek to assist the family in any way we can.

“As soon as Pret was made aware of this incident by Bath Council, it withdrew all affected products.

"Subsequent testing by Pret and two independent authorities found that the CoYo dairy-free yoghurt contained traces of dairy protein.

"Pret informed the FSA which led to a national product recall from all supermarkets and businesses supplied by CoYo.

"Pret terminated its relationship with CoYo UK and is in the process of taking legal action.”

The Food Standards Agency investigated along with Bexley council in London, where CoYo is based, before it issued the allergy alert.

The news of Celia’s death comes after Pret announced on Wednesday it will include full ingredient labelling on all of its products following the death of Natasha, from Fulham, south-west London.

The teenager picked up an artichoke, olive and tapenade sandwich from a Pret branch at Heathrow Airport before going on holiday two years ago.


But unknown to her, the baguette dough contained sesame seed – a detail not mentioned on its packaging, an inquest into her death heard.

After boarding a flight from London to Nice, France, with her dad Nadim Ednan-Laperouse and best pal, she began struggling to breathe.

She told her father: "Daddy, help me! I can’t breathe."

Two EpiPens were administered onboard the British Airways plane, but Natasha collapsed and went into cardiac arrest, the inquest heard.

Despite a junior doctor and cabin crew performing CPR on the teenager, she was tragically later pronounced dead at a hospital in Nice.

Last month, the coroner at Natasha’s inquest at West London Coroner’s Court recorded a narrative conclusion and said she had died of anaphylaxis.

He said the teenager had been "reassured" by the lack of specific allergen information on the Pret sandwich’s packaging and on the display cabinet.

Coroner Dr Sean Cummings said: "Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died of anaphylaxis in Nice on July 17 2016 after eating a baguette, purchased from Pret-A-Manger at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

"The baguette was manufactured to Pret specifications and contained sesame to which she was allergic. There was no specific allergen information on the baguette packaging or on the (food display cabinet) and Natasha was reassured by that."

Offering his condolences to Natasha’s family, he told her dad Nadim: "I can’t imagine what it was like for you on that plane."

The father, 53, wept as he said: "Terrible."

The coroner said he would make a report to Environment Secretary Michael Gove over whether large businesses should be able to benefit from regulations that allow reduced food labelling for products made in shops.

Natasha collapsed on the flight in July 2016.

In heartbreaking footage, released by her family, she could be seen smiling and putting her thumbs up just moments before she fell ill.

In the second ‘allergy’ incident, Bath and North East Somerset council was informed of Celia’s death by the coroner on January 19.

The council informed Pret four days later.

Tests were then conducted on sandwiches and yoghurt samples in London and Bath that were supposed to be dairy free.

They were found to be contaminated with milk protein.

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