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Family of Celia Marsh who died after eating Pret A Manger's KILLER SANDWICH calls food testing 'inadeqaute'

Celia Marsh, 42, suffered a fatal allergic reaction after eating a $5 ‘super-veg rainbow flatbread’ which had dairy protein in it
Celia Marsh fell ill and died after eating a 'super-veg rainbow flatbread' in a Pret A Manger (Family handout)
Celia Marsh fell ill and died after eating a 'super-veg rainbow flatbread' in a Pret A Manger (Family handout)

Dental nurse Celia Marsh, 42, suffered a fatal allergic reaction shortly after consuming a $5 ‘super-veg rainbow flatbread’ in December 2017 during a family meal at a Pret A Manger in Bath, Somerset. It was later found that the sandwich’s yogurt dressing, which was supposed to be vegan, had traces of dairy protein in it. She was rushed to Royal United Hospital in the city but later died two days after Christmas. The family of Celia Marsh, who was a mother of five children, say testing of the food after she died was 'inadequate', according to Daily Mail.

Her husband Andy Marsh has since launched a separate personal injury lawsuit at London’s High Court. A pre-inquest review into Marsh's death on August 2 heard the lack of investigation into the food item by Pret had 'caused both the family and others great concern'. The family’s lawyer said, "We are very keen that the inquest does not divert into an investigation into an investigation. It is about how the deceased came about their death. But there are clearly concerns with the investigation and that forms part of the context and background, which we will be exploring with the experts." He said it was ‘deeply regrettable' that ‘contents were not kept and properly analysed’, adding "It has caused both the family and others great concern."


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Avon and Somerset Coroner's Court heard there was a 'mismatch' between the information held by Australian-based coconut yogurt firm CoYo and its UK distributors Planet Coconut about the potential for dairy contamination in its products. Coroner Maria Voisin said she will request a statement from Henry Gosling, the founder of CoYo. But Voisin also emphasized that the scope of an inquest is only to establish how someone died and was not to place blame or replace civil litigation. Marsh's inquest is due to begin on September 6 and is expected to last between two and three weeks. CoYo and Gosling have not been named as interested parties in the inquest. 


Voisin added, "We will request a statement but it is going to be very limited. We are not asking him to go above and beyond that one area of concern." She said this would be the last pre-inquest hearing ahead of the full inquest listed for three weeks and due to take place from September, 6. Pret A Manger said it would fully cooperate with the hearing in a statement that was released on the same day. "Our deepest sympathies remain with the Marsh family over their terrible loss and we are doing everything we can to support this inquest," a spokesperson told the same news outlet. "Following Celia Marsh's death in 2017, charges were brought against Pret. The prosecution ended due to the lack of evidence and as a result, Pret was found not guilty. Over the past few years, Pret has established an industry-leading approach to helping customers with allergies, through the Pret Allergy Plan. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure that every customer has the information they need to make the right choice for them."

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it investigated supplier CoYo, which later issued an allergy alert and recalled its coconut yogurts. But CoYo denied the recall was linked to Marsh's death and accused Pret of hampering its probe by failing to provide vital information. The death of Marsh came a year after 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse lost her life after eating a Pret sandwich that contained sesame seeds. She suffered a severe allergic reaction after the flight took off, and despite her father administering two Epi-pen injections to her, the teenager had two cardiac arrests.