Allergic to cow’s milk, dies after consuming a vegan wrap

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    in collaboration with

    Alexandra Murcier (dietitian-nutritionist)


    Medical validation:
    September 16, 2022

    In 2017, Celia Marsh, a British woman allergic to cow’s milk, died after eating a sandwich labeled vegan. For what reasons? Should we (sometimes) be careful about vegan products? Alexandra Murcier answers us.

    It was a labeling error that cost him his life. Celia Marsh, a British dental nurse and mother of five, died on December 27, 2017 after consuming a simple vegan wrap from the Prêt à Manger brand.

    The wrap contains traces of dairy products

    It was during a simple shopping trip with her husband and three of her five children that Celia Marsh decided to buy a vegan wrap at a Prêt à Manger restaurant in Bath.

    Being severely allergic to lactose, the mother has the habit of carefully reading the components of the purchased dishes.

    She always checked all the labels before eating anything. And if she wasn’t sure about the ingredients, she didn’t eat it to avoid taking a risk “, explains her husband.

    And for good reason: seven months before, Celia Marsh had suffered a major allergic reaction: she had to receive almost 15 adrenaline injections.

    That day, he did not imagine that the wrap could be the cause of his discomfort, since the label did not mention the presence of dairy products. And yet: the envelope did indeed contain traces of cow’s milk.

    Then a feeling of suffocation begins: the nurse has difficulty breathing and is forced to use her inhaler against asthma before injecting a dose of adrenaline.

    Help arrives, Celia Marsh is transported to the hospital. She died two hours later.

    Five years after his death, an audience began in the United Kingdom. The companies CoYo and Planet Coconut – which make the yogurt present in the wrap – seem responsible.

    Vegan products are not always healthy

    Fake steak, pieces of fake bacon or even fake sausages… On the supermarket shelves, vegan products are ubiquitous. But what should we think? Are they really healthier?

    Not always. Meat and dairy alternatives can be ultra-processed and contain lots of additives, preservatives and salt. That’s why we should pay attention to the products we consume and favor unprocessed ones. “, recalls Alexandra Murcier, dietitian-nutritionist.

    Also, learning to read labels correctly is essential.

    When you have the choice between two products, you have to choose the one whose list is the shortest. All ingredients that are not found in our cupboards, such as soy lecithin or even chemical preservatives (E200 to E 297), should be avoided. If salt and sugar appear at the top of the list, this is also a bad sign. Finally, the amount of protein is important: the intake must be sufficient for vegans. “, says the expert.

    As for the Nutri-Score, the famous labeling system that ranges from A to E, relying on it does not guarantee everything.

    A product classified A can be very bad for your health, fat and sweet, it is an aberration. It is better to refer to the list of ingredients “, concludes the dietitian.

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