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'Natasha's Law' gives hope to food allergy sufferers in Northern Ireland

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse

By Emma Bowden

Food allergy sufferers in Northern Ireland are due to be protected under a new law following the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

"Natasha's Law" will require all food businesses to label all of the ingredients in pre-packaged food.

The legislation, which will also apply to England and Wales, is due to come into force by the summer of 2021.

Natasha, from Fulham, west London, suffered a severe allergic reaction after unknowingly eating sesame contained in an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette she bought from a Pret a Manger at Heathrow Airport.

The 15-year-old died of anaphylaxis after collapsing on a flight to Nice in July 2016. Her parents have previously called for a law to make all pre-packaged food clearly show allergens, which they have discussed with Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

Under current rules, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold - such as a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff - is not required to display allergen information on the package.

The new legislation will tighten the rules by requiring foods that are pre-packed directly for sale to carry a full list of ingredients, Defra said.

Yesterday Natasha's parents launched a charity in memory of their daughter.

The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation was announced by Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, with the couple aiming to establish a research centre at the University of Southampton to find a cure for allergies.

Mrs Ednan-Laperouse said: "It will be groundbreaking, the first of its kind. Here we will fund and harness allergy medical breakthroughs, support academic and industry research and develop new therapies that will offer hope for effective allergy treatments; never taking our eyes off our goal, always working towards finding a cure."

The Duchess of York said she was "very proud" after being asked to be patron of the foundation.

She said: "The charity will fund leading and critical allergy research with the aim of finding a cure for this horrendous disease. I am so moved by their determination that some good comes out of their daughter's death and I will do whatever I can to support them and the foundation in those aims."

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