Pret A Manger not guilty of food offence after Bath woman's allergic reaction

A jury has cleared the firm following a week-long trial at Bristol Crown Court.

A jury has found Pret A Manger not guilty of a food safety offence after a student suffered a severe allergic reaction after eating a sandwich containing sesame.

Isobel Colnaghi went into anaphylactic shock after eating a Pret sandwich containing sesame, which she is severely allergic to, in November 2017.

During a week-long trial, jurors at Bristol Crown Court heard Miss Colnaghi checked the packaging of the curried chickpea and mango chutney sandwich before asking a member of staff if it contained sesame.

The court was told the staff member failed to check the store’s allergen guide – which would have confirmed the sandwich did contain sesame – and wrongly told Miss Colnaghi it did not after looking at a shelf label.

After eating a few bites of the sandwich Miss Colnaghi quickly began to feel unwell and was later taken to the Royal United Hospital in Bath by ambulance having gone into anaphylactic shock. She made a full recovery.

Pret A Manger (Europe) Ltd denied one charge of selling food not of the substance demanded, contrary to Section 14 of the Food Safety Act 1990.

A jury acquitted the company of the charge on Tuesday 4 May following a week-long trial.

Judge Euan Ambrose told the jury: “That verdict brings the trial to a close and brings your involvement, and everyone else’s in this case, to a close.

“All that remains is for me to say a few words of thanks to you because you have given up a week and a bit of your time.

“We are extremely grateful to you for doing jury service.”

Speaking after the verdict, a spokeswoman for Pret A Manger said: “We welcome the court’s decision in relation to this incident in 2017.

“At Pret we continue to do everything we can to support customers with allergies and in 2019, we became the first food-to-go business to introduce full ingredient labels on all freshly made products.

“We remain 100% committed to the actions we set out in the Pret Allergy Plan, so that every customer has the information they need to make the right choice for them. We wish Miss Colnaghi all the best for the future.”