Natasha's Law: Teenager would be alive if her law had been around to protect her, best friend says

ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies reports on the widespread changes to food labelling which come into effect from today under Natasha's law

The best friend of the young woman whose death triggered a change in legislation on allergies said she would still be here if the laws had existed when she was alive.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse was 15-years-old when she suffered a fatal allergic reaction from a Pret A Manger sandwich in July 2016.

The teenager died after consuming the artichoke and olive tapenade baguette on a flight from Heathrow airport to Nice with her father Nadim and best friend Bethany Holloway.

Along with Natasha's parents, Ms Holloway's lobbying efforts helped pass Natasha's law, which will require all food businesses to include full ingredients labelling on pre-packaged food from today.

Bethany Holloway tells ITV News why the law could have saved her friend's life

Ms Holloway, who knew Natasha since she joined her school in Year 4, told ITV News that the incomplete labelling on the baguette led to the tragic death of her "incredible" best friend.

"It has been a long time in the making but it is very exciting that it has finally happened because I know that it will change a lot of people's lives with allergens," she said.

"They'll be confident to actually go to a shop and buy pre-packaged food and not have the fear of 'I don't know what else is in here'.

"And if that had been in place when Natasha bought that sandwich she wouldn't have died."

Bethany and Natasha have been friends since primary school. Credit: ITV News

The coroner called Pret a Manger's allergy labelling "inadequate" on the final day of the inquest into Natasha's death.

It was ruled the teenager was "reassured" by the lack of specific allergen information on the packaging of the sandwich.

Ms Holloway described how it was a cruel irony that food labels, which she says Natasha always used to check so carefully, were "the thing that caused her really to die".

How do allergy sufferers rely on labels to keep them safe?

"She was so good at making sure that she was safe, with checking labels," Bethany added.

"She really did rely on labels, which is why it was so sad that labels were the thing that let her down in the end."

Bethany recalled how "traumatic" witnessing her friend's quick deterioration on the BA flight from London to Nice was, as the pair were flying out to France for their first holiday together.

The baguette for Natasha's sandwich had sesame seeds, which she was severely allergic, baked into the dough.

Natasha suffered a severe allergic reaction within minutes of taking off.

Her father administered two Epi-pens delivering potentially life-saving adrenaline but they did not work.

But Bethany said her death won't be in vain as the new labelling laws will prevent countless future tragedies, which is something she'd "be happy to know" as she was such a "caring" person.

Natasha's family set up the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation and campaigned for the change in the law after a food labelling loophole

It's a sentiment her parents, Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, echo.

Mr Ednan-Laperouse told ITV News: “It’s a really big day, it’s D Day - Deliverance Day - for two million people in the United Kingdom who suffer from really quite severe allergies which can be life-threatening."

Ms Ednan-Laperouse said: “Natasha was always extremely careful to check the food labels and until that terrible day in 2016 hadn’t had a severe allergic reaction for over nine years.

“Nothing can bring Natasha back, and we have to live with that reality every day, but we know in our hearts that Natasha would be very proud that a new law in her name will help to protect others.

“Natasha was a very public-spirited young woman – she wanted to make a difference – so this feels like a fitting tribute to her."

Natasha's parents Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse spoke to ITV News about their joy at the law change

Ms Ednan-Laperouse told ITV News: "We had no idea it was so prevalent in this country until after the inquest.

"We relied on labels to be transparent and to give the right information, and the fact that can now happen, she would be over the moon that people will find it easier to navigate that, ultimately, what she did."