Allergen petition by family of Crowborough boy to be debated in Parliament

ALLERGIC REACTION: Owen died in April 2017

A PETITION for clearer labelling of allergens on restaurant menus is to be debated in Parliament, thanks to the efforts of the family of Owen Carey, of Crowborough, who died from an allergic reaction.

Owen Carey, 18, experienced anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock) after eating a grilled chicken breast at Byron Burger at the O2 Arena in London on April 22, 2017. Owen had made staff aware of his allergies but was not told that the chicken had been marinated in buttermilk, an inquest into his death heard.

Owen had been celebrating his 18th birthday at the time of his death.

Now, following a petition by the Carey family, ‘Owen’s Law’, a campaign to legally require restaurants to include information about the top 14 allergens on the face of their menus, will be debated in Parliament on May 15.

Currently, restaurants are permitted to provide this information in any format they choose, including verbally only.

Owen’s Law would make the listing of allergens on menus a legal requirement and require serving staff to initiate conversations about allergies with all customers. It would also create a national register of anaphylaxis deaths.

Owen’s father Paul said: “At the moment, restaurant owners are obliged to provide information about allergens, but the law allows them to do it ‘by any means’.

“We want that to be changed to ‘in writing’.”

Owen’s Law would ‘piggyback’ on to Natasha’s Law, which came into force in 2021, requiring foods pre-packaged on site, such as sandwiches, to carry a full list of ingredients.

That law followed the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who had not been made aware that sesame seeds had been baked into the bread of a sandwich she had eaten.

It is policy for only those petitions with 100,000 or more signatures to be ‘considered’ for a debate in Parliament, whereas the ‘Owen’s Law’ petition had 12,889.

However, the parliamentary petition map shows support for the petition across the entire country.

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