Pret: Family Of Celia Marsh Say They 'Just Want Answers' After Her Death From Suspected Allergic Reaction

The 42-year-old had eaten a flatbread that was supposed to be dairy-free.
Celia Marsh
Celia Marsh

The family of a second Pret A Manger customer thought to have died from an allergic reaction say they “just want the answers” on why she lost her life.

Celia Marsh, a dental nurse, collapsed and died on 27 December 2017 after buying a “super-veg rainbow flatbread” that was supposed to be dairy-free, at one of Pret’s Bath branches.

In a statement, the 42-year-old’s family said: “We have kept a dignified silence since the death of Celia in December last year as the family has come to terms with her sudden and unexpected death. We are also awaiting the outcome of the investigations into how she died.

“She was a much-loved mother, daughter, sister and wife. We miss her greatly and we just want the answers to why she died after eating lunch with her family.”

In a statement issued over the weekend, Pret said it had been missold a guaranteed dairy-free yoghurt that was subsequently found to contain dairy protein.

“As soon as Pret was made aware of this incident by Bath Council, it withdrew all affected products,” the chain said. “Subsequent testing by Pret and two independent authorities found that the CoYo dairy-free yoghurt contained traces of dairy protein.”

In February, the coconut milk brand recalled its yoghurts.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of our customer in this terrible case and we will seek to assist them in any way we can,” Pret added.

The chain said it had ended its contract with CoYo and is taking legal action.

However, CoYo hit back at Pret’s claim, with a spokesperson stating: “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.”

The company also claims “Pret’s inability to provide us with a batch code, despite several requests, has severely limited our ability to investigate this further”.

Pret is already facing scrutiny over the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who was allergic to sesame and died after eating one of its baguettes.

The coroner said he would write to the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to raise the question of whether large businesses should be able to benefit from regulations that allow reduced food labelling for products made in shops, rather than offsite in a factory.

The Marsh family statement was released by law firm Leigh Day, who also represent the Ednan-Laperouse family.

Last week, Pret announced last week that it will begin including full ingredient labelling on all of its products.


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