A dental nurse with a severe milk allergy has died after eating a packet of Pret a Manger that was labeled as vegan but included dairy protein, an inquest has heard.
Celia Marsh, 42, collapsed in the street, unable to breathe, after she ate a super vegetarian rainbow flatbread from the sandwich chain’s outlet in Bath, Somerset, on December 27, 2017.
The wrapper containing the yogurt was supposed to be vegan but was later found to have traces of milk protein in it.
An investigation is underway into the death of a mother of five, who had a severe milk allergy and “religiously avoided” all dairy products after a near-fatal allergic reaction. died a few months earlier.
Mrs Marsh was on a post-Christmas shopping trip with her husband Andy and her three daughters when she went to Pret to buy something to eat.
In a statement to Avon Coroner’s Court, Mr Marsh said his wife had started to feel “a little funny” after eating the wrap and they decided to leave a Gap clothing store.
She said she was “short of breath” so they moved to a side street, he added.
The court heard that Mrs Marsh, from Melksham in Wiltshire, initially thought she was “stupid” because the sandwich had been labeled “vegan”.
Mr Marsh said: “She had the Epipen in her hand and I told her that if she thought there was any chance she would react that she should just do it and use the pen because it’s not important.
“She then said to me ‘You need to call an ambulance,'” he added.
Mr Marsh said he called 999, at which point his wife had collapsed and was being cared for by a general practitioner on duty, who offered to help.
“They took Celia away by ambulance, but I had a baby with me so I couldn’t go with her to the hospital,” Mr Marsh said.
“I was in shock so it took a short while before I was able to drive to the hospital.
“When we got to the hospital, we were put in a side room and we were told that Celia had died at 4pm.”
Brendan Turvey, a civil servant trained in first aid who went to help Ms. Marsh, said a crowd had gathered in the busy street around her as she lay on the ground.
He described the scene as “disturbing” and said he saw Mr Marsh trying to comfort his young daughter.
Some people are said to have taken off their coats on Mrs. Marsh to keep her warm.
However, Shawn Eyles, one of the paramedics in attendance, said some shoppers continued to walk past Ms Marsh as she was being treated.
Mr Marsh and his daughters may have cried during the hearing when the statements were read out.
Pret was charged with food insecurity following Marsh’s death, but the prosecution was later dropped due to lack of evidence.
The company said it would fully cooperate with the investigation, with chief executive Pano Christou present at Tuesday’s hearing.
Interested parties in the investigation include Bath and North East Somerset Council, Australia-based coconut yogurt company CoYo, and UK distributor Planet Coconut.
Both companies are involved in supplying the yogurt ingredient in sandwiches to Pret.
Marsh’s death happened after she was 15 years old Natasha Ednan-Laperousewho died in 2016 after eating a pret bread containing sesame seeds, purchased at Heathrow Airport.
Ms. Ednan-Laperouse has a sesame allergy.
The investigation into Ms Marsh’s death is expected to last two to three weeks.