A man whose daughter died after eating a Pret A Manger sandwich on a flight has described how he had to ring his wife to say she would die.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, went into cardiac arrest on a flight to Nice after buying the baguette at Heathrow Airport in 2016.
Her father Nadim, said her symptoms came on very fast, “like an explosion”.
“I called my wife and told her to say goodbye. I knew she was going to die,” he said.
Natasha, from Fulham, west London, ate an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette and became ill after buying it at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport early on 17 July 2016.
Mr Ednan-Laperouse said halfway through the British Airways flight, she became severely allergic in reaction to sesame seeds contained in the sandwich, before dying later on the same day.
“Her whole body was covered in huge raised red welts – rather like as if she had been stung by hundreds of jellyfish,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“That was the first time I had ever seen something like that – so it was clear to me it was a very very powerful allergenic reaction.
“She was feeling very unwell and then started having big difficulties in breathing.”
The inquest into her death heard the fact the baguette contained sesame was not listed as an ingredient on its packaging.
Mr Ednan-Laperouse said he injected his daughter with adrenaline from two EpiPens as she became unwell, but unfortunately they did not work.
“Natasha said that she still couldn’t breathe and desperately looked at me, she said ‘Daddy, help me, I can’t breathe’, he said.
“Those were her last words.”
‘Engulfed by grief’
Her mother Tanya, described the last time she spoke to her daughter over the phone.
“Nad called me to say that she was going to die within a minute, maybe two, and that I had to say goodbye to her,” she said.
“He said to me, ‘This is the only chance, you have to say goodbye’.
“The grief began immediately after I spoke to her and then I actually collapsed.
“I was aware there were a lot of people around me so I couldn’t scream or howl.
“I just literally fell. I was engulfed by grief. I lost the ability to stand or even to get up again.”
At the inquest, the court heard Pret did not label “artisan” baguettes as containing sesame seeds, despite there being six allergic reaction cases in the year before Natasha died.
Her family are now campaigning for a change in food labelling laws, which they described as having “played Russian roulette” with their daughter’s life.
“Things need to change now”, Mrs Ednan-Laperouse said.
“In me eyes, tomorrow is not soon enough. It’s not difficult to label products with allergens.
“Nobody else should ever have to suffer such a needless death.”
In response, Pret chief executive Clive Schlee, said: “We cannot begin to comprehend the pain the family have felt, and the grief they will continue to feel.
“We’ve listened to everything the coroner and Natasha’s family have said this week and we will learn from it.”