You will all, I’m sure, remember the truly tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette that she purchased from Heathrow Aiport. It has taken three years, but Michael Gove (who was still environment secretary at the time of typing) has introduced new legislation, known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, which tightens the rules by requiring foods that are pre-packed directly for sale to carry a full list of ingredients.
Ednan-Laperouse’s parents, Tanya and Nadim, greeted the move that they have been campaigning for, saying: “While Natasha’s Law comes too late to save our beloved daughter, we believe that helping save other allergy sufferers and their families from the enduring agony that we will always bear is a fitting legacy for her life.”
Less happy, though, was our friend Chris Young, co-ordinator of the Real Bread Campaign, who told us: “We welcome this step in the right direction, but we believe that the government is still dragging its feet in supporting people’s right to be able to make fully-informed choices about the loaves and sandwiches they buy. It’s infuriating that they only seem to take any action at all when forced by EU regulation or a tragedy.”
Young would also like to see full labelling for products that are sold unwrapped, a requirement for food additives deemed to be ‘processing’ aids to appear on the labels of any food, and for marketing terms, such as ‘freshly baked’, ‘whole grain’ or ‘sourdough’, to be more strictly policed. We wish him well in his great campaigning work – though we would like to add that, like Young and Natasha’s parents, we also welcome this action that will undoubtedly help to protect consumers in the future.