MPs debate law to improve allergy labelling in restaurants six years since teen's death

  • ITV News Meridian's Joe Coshan reports on the proposed law

Six years after the death of a Sussex teenager, who was served food he was allergic to, MPs are debating a legal crackdown that would force restaurants to list allergens on their menus.

It follows years of campaigning by the parents of Owen Carey, from Crowborough, who went into anaphylactic shock after eating a chicken burger containing buttermilk.

The family want MPs to put pressure on the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Food Standards Agency to change the law as soon as possible.

Paul Carey, Owen's father, said: "Two years ago Natasha's Law came in and that has been a great success.

"What we want is Natasha's Law applied to restaurants, we're calling it Owen's Law, and if that were to be done it would make eating out so much safer for those who suffer from allergens.

"It has another benefit though because the restaurants are required to provide accurate information but it forces responsibility for the accuracy of that information further up the management chain, to the chef or to the manager, rather than leaving it to a waiter who might only be an 18/20 year old young person and it's not fair to put that onus of responsibility on them.

"So it allows the restaurant to become more responsible for the information about allergens in their meals."

Emma Kosher, Owen's sister, said: "It's overwhelmingly comforting to us to have support from the allergy community but also from people that we've never met."

Owen's family have called him their "shining light". Credit: Family handout

Owen died of a severe allergic reaction back in April 2017, after eating at Byron Burger at the O2 Arena in Greenwich on his 18th birthday.

He collapsed less than an hour after first experiencing an allergic reaction to his meal and was taken to hospital where he died.

The medical cause of death was given as severe food-induced anaphylaxis.

An inquest into his death heard that the restaurant's menu did not show that the burger he ordered contained dairy in the form of buttermilk.

The food chain Byron has since made changes. Servers can only send orders to the kitchen once they have confirmed they have asked the customer about allergies.

The menu at Byron now has an allergy message, covering just under a third of a page.

A spokesperson for Byron Burger said: "At Byron, we take food safety extremely seriously and comply with all legal requirements.

"We have a comprehensive allergen guide available for customers and we take every precaution to ensure our customers are able to dine with us."