CIEH calls for national register to record severe allergic reactions to food

26 January 2021, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has called for a national register to record severe allergic reactions to food.

The recent publication of a Coroner’s Report, following the death of 14 year old Ruben Bousquet, once again called for a national register to record severe and fatal reactions to food allergens. This is the third Report to Prevent Future Deaths to make the same recommendation, following the deaths of 18 year old Owen Carey in 2017 and 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016.

Ruben died after eating unpackaged popcorn from a cinema. The popcorn was manufactured and supplied free from milk protein but it appeared the product had become cross contaminated with cows milk allergen at some stage in the food chain.

In his report, the Coroner concluded that action should be taken to establish a national reporting system, including timely reporting to local authorities and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), and maintenance of a register of fatalities and their investigations.

The FSA has until 11 February to respond to the report.

CIEH has consistently highlighted the need for a central reporting system, and called for robust processes for the reporting of “near misses” in its response to the FSA’s March 2019 consultation on allergens.

Kate Thompson CIEH Director Wales said:

“This is another avoidable death of a young person and our sympathy is with Ruben’s family and all who knew him. We highlighted the need for a system of central reporting of severe food allergic reactions back in March 2019.

This would facilitate rapid investigation of cases and potentially prevent further incidents. It is disappointing this hasn’t been progressed.

We call for urgent action by the FSA to act on the Coroner’s recommendation to introduce a national reporting system for these types of incidents.”

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