Pret A Manger reveals a 2nd customer death from an allergic reaction

The company has opted to be transparent, despite the continuing crisis involving food labeling and customer safety. Can the chain regain consumer trust?

Pret A Manger is emphasizing transparency as it addresses revelations about another food-allergen death.

The restaurant chain, which specializes in ready-made sandwiches and flatbreads, has tried to reassure consumers amid news that a customer died from an allergic reaction to its artisan baguette.

Now the chain admits that a second customer died after eating food from one of its locations.

CNN reported:

The customer died in December 2017 after eating a “super-veg rainbow flatbread” that contained a yogurt that was supposed to be dairy-free.

But after testing by Pret and two independent authorities, it was later found that the ingredient, supplied by yogurt producer Coyo, contained dairy protein. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) was informed and all Coyo products were recalled nationwide.

Pret said in a statement that “their deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of our customer in this terrible case and we will look to help them in any way we can.” The company said it was taking legal action against Coyo.

Pret also tweeted a response:

The yogurt company announced in February that it would voluntarily remove the product in question from shelves.

It has also pushed back against Pret’s account of the incident.

The Independent reported:

Vegan brand CoYo, a coconut milk brand that has been endorsed by TV cook Nigella Lawson, recalled the yoghurts in February.

But on Sunday, CoYo denied this was related, saying that product was supplied to it in January – after the woman’s death.

“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,” a spokeswoman said.

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

CoYo also tweeted:

Pret says it is taking legal action, and CoYo argues the courts have not yet assigned fault.

The latest revelation comes as Pret is responding to the crisis sparked after reports that a teenage girl had died in 2016 from an allergic reaction to sesame seeds in its bread.

As previously reported on PR Daily:

Pret failed to note the ingredient as an allergen on its packaging. In-store signs direct customers to ask staff about potential allergens in their products.

The Independent reported :

Pret a Manger’s food labelling failed to warn a 15-year-old girl who died after eating one of its baguettes that the sandwich contained allergens, an inquest has heard.

Concluding the hearing into the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, coroner Dr Sean Cummings recorded a narrative verdict, finding that the teenager was “reassured” by the lack of specific warnings on the packaging.

“Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died of anaphylaxis in Nice on July 17, 2016, after eating a baguette purchased from Pret a Manger at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5,” he said.

The company is now promoting transparency, but the reputational damage might be irreparable.

On Twitter, people are sharing their frustration with the company:

However, some are favorably impressed:

Pret has tried to take some interactions offline:

Others say the crisis response effort falls short:

How would you advise Pret A Manger, PR Daily readers?

(image via)

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