Earlier this year, we’ve had the pleasure of meeting with Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, who founded The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation to campaign for positive change for those who suffer with allergic diseases, after they sadly lost their daughter Natasha to a severe allergic reaction. Fooditude will be working with them in the next few months to help raise awareness about allergies in B&I catering industry as well as with our corporate clients.
For Allergy Awareness Week, we couldn’t think of anyone better than Tanya to talk to us about the work that The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation is currently undertaking, why allergy awareness is critical and why allergies are everyone’s business.
MORE than 2 million people in the UK have a food allergy – this is an unpredictable and serious health condition that can have devastating effects on people’s lives. Although more common in children, food allergy diagnosis in adults are on the rise too and can develop at any point in life with the most common foods to cause allergies being milk, eggs and peanuts.
Having a food allergy means the simple joy of sharing a meal with friends and family can be fraught with anxiety and danger. An anaphylactic reaction, where the body’s immune goes into overdrive very quickly when it comes into contact with an allergen, is a medical emergency. Anaphylaxis can come on very quickly and people have been known to die in under an hour from the catastrophic effects the reaction has on the body. In others, anaphylaxis is delayed and can suddenly become apparent at speed, hours after eating the allergen. The unpredictability of anaphylaxis has often meant it has been mis-diagnosed which has led to devastating outcomes.
At The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, we know only too well the wide-ranging impact that food allergies wreak on people’s lives. The charity was set up by the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died aged 15 in 2016 after having a severe allergic reaction to an ingredient hidden in a baguette. There was no warning on the sandwich packaging that the dough of the bread contained sesame to which Natasha was allergic, so she ate it, completely unaware of the fatal impact it would have on her body. Her parents Tanya and Nadim set up the charity in 2019 with the mission of sparing others the ordeal they have had to endure.
Through medical research, education and raising awareness of food allergies, they want to improve the lives of the millions of people in the UK who have a food allergy and their families.
Following Natasha’s death, they successfully campaigned for Natasha’s Law, which requires businesses to provide a full list of ingredients on pre-packaged food made and sold on the same premises, such as salads and sandwiches, from this October. But there is so much more to do, and Allergy Awareness Week starting on Monday 26th April, shines a spotlight on the problems that still exist: there are not enough trained allergy clinics or specialists in this country and GP training in allergies is patchy at best, so while some patients and their families get the support they need, others are left to cope on their own.
We hope that by working with Fooditude we can get the message out to thousands more people of the very real dangers of food allergies and enable them to be at the forefront of allergy awareness and action in catering, to keep their allergic customers safe. We share a goal and that is for everyone to be able to safely enjoy delicious and nutritious food.
You can support our mission by signing up to Natasha’s Army (to receive regular updates on the work of the Foundation) or donate to the charity go to www.narf.org.uk
At Fooditude, we have always recognised the dangers that some foods can pose to those with severe allergies. Much before it was written into law (Natasha’s Law) we provided all our clients with a full disclosure of every ingredient that went into cooking every dish so that our guests could make informed choices even if it were not a legal requirement.
This year for Allergy Awareness Week, we feel privileged to have been able to partner with NARF. We will also be providing a range of resources via our social media channels and hosting an Instagram live session with our Health & Food Safety Manager – Jason Goodger on Wednesday at 12.30PM to raise awareness about the dangers of food allergies and increase your knowledge about potentially allergic ingredients.
Follow us on @WeAreFooditude for daily updates.