Natasha’s Law - which requires all food outlets to provide full ingredient lists with clear allergen labelling on food pre-packed for direct sale - came into force in October 2021, but that was just the beginning for the Foundation, which was founded in 2019 with an ambitious and world-changing goal to make food allergy history.
It was set up by Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse following the death of their daughter Natasha in 2016.
The 15-year-old had consumed an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette purchased from a Pret a Manger outlet in Heathrow before boarding a flight to Nice with her father Nadim and best friend Bethany. The baguette had sesame seeds baked into the dough, which was unlisted on the label and to which Natasha was severely allergic.
To date, the Foundation has achieved numerous milestones, including:
Successfully campaigning for the change in food labelling law, known as Natasha’s Law.
Launching a groundbreaking £2.8m clinical trial in oral immunotherapy in May 2022, using shop-bought everyday foods to treat food allergies. If successful, this treatment could be adopted by the NHS at a fraction of the current cost of pharmaceuticals. The trial aims to make it possible for allergy sufferers to lead lives where they no longer must avoid ‘may contain’ food products - be it on-the-go, at school, in restaurant - without fear of a severe reaction.
Gaining the support of HM King Charles who in September 2022 - at the Global Allergy Symposium held at Dumfries House, the Scottish home of his educational charity, The Prince’s Foundation - pledged to shine a light on the global allergy crisis.
“I was moved beyond words by the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and the way her parents have selflessly dedicated themselves to preventing other families from suffering in the same way,” said His Majesty.
“That is why my Prince's Foundation is hosting leading scientists and experts in the field to tackle the environmental causes of allergic disease so that no more lives are needlessly lost due to allergic reactions.”
Make allergy history
Food allergies affect around three million Brits, suffering symptoms from an itchy rash to anaphylaxis, which causes breathing and swallowing difficulties and in rare occurrences, death. While there has been an increase in hospital admissions for food-induced anaphylaxis, death is rare and has fallen to less than 10 fatalities per year in the UK.
“Up to three million people in the UK now live with food allergies,” said Tanya Ednana-Laperouse OBE.
“That’s why we are delighted to welcome KTC Edibles as one of our corporate partners to join us in the fight to make allergy history by funding our work in education, policy and research.
“Every individual has the right to feel and be safe in their environment, be that home, school, work, or out with friends and family. The mission of Natasha’s Foundation is to make food allergy history, through scientific research, policy/regulation and education and awareness.
“This support from KTC Edibles will help us deliver on our mission. It will help those living with life-threatening food allergies, lead safer and more inclusive lives.”
Take an active role
KTC Edibles has already started its fundraising for the Foundation. In June, CEO Paresh Mehta climbed Ben Nevis, raising £4,236 for the charity in the process.
“As one of the country’s leading food businesses, we take our commitment to food safety very seriously,” said Mehta.
“Ensuring that products are safe for people living with allergies is essential - and we see it as our responsibility to take an active role in tackling the allergy epidemic.
“This means funding vital research into the causes and preventions of allergies, which is why we are proud to support Natasha’s Foundation in fulfilling their ambition to make allergy history.”
The KTC Group supplies more than 300m litres of cooking oils and fats annually to customers of all sizes - from bakers to foodservice operators and manufacturers - across the UK food industry. Sustainability is a priority for the company, which holds the RSPO accreditation for sustainable palm oil and BRC food certifications, among others. The company employs over 400 people across its four sites.