Demands for change to UK laws on restaurant labelling of allergens

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The family of a UK teenager who died after eating a birthday meal at a burger chain have demanded a change in the law on allergen labelling in restaurants after an inquest found he was misled into thinking the meal was safe for him.

Earlier, an executive at a UK fast food chain where a teenager suffered a fatal reaction to a burger has told the inquest into his death that he should have asked about allergens when he ordered it. The Guardian reports that Owen Carey died after eating a chicken burger that contained buttermilk at the Byron restaurant at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, southeast London, where he was celebrating his birthday with his family. He was allergic to dairy.

The 18-year-old began experiencing symptoms after leaving the restaurant on 22 April 2017 but got as far as the London Eye, near Waterloo in central London, before collapsing. He usually carried an EpiPen but had forgotten it. He died at nearby St Thomas’s Hospital 45 minutes later

Speaking after the inquest, Byron chief executive Simon Wilkinson said Owen’s death was a “matter of great regret and sadness” and acknowledged the food industry “needs to do more”, reports The Argus.

“We believe that Byron always did its best to meet our responsibilities, but we know that this will be of no comfort to Owen’s family. We have heard what the coroner said about the need to communicate about allergies.

“It is clear that the current rules and requirements are not enough and the industry needs to do more – more to help support customers with allergies and more to raise awareness of the risks of allergies.

We take allergies extremely seriously and have robust procedures in place.

“Although those procedures were in line with all the rules and guidelines, and we train our staff to respond in the right way, it is a matter of great regret and sadness that our high standards of communicating with our customers were not met during Owen’s visit.

The Guardian report
Argus report


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