Owen’s Law – campaigning for better allergy information in restaurants
A campaign has been launched, which calls for a sensible change in the law on allergy labelling in restaurants following the tragic death of 18-year-old Owen Carey from anaphylaxis on 22 April 2017. Owen’s father, Paul Carey describes why it is necessary
Owen Carey had just turned 18 and was celebrating his birthday with family members and his girlfriend on a day out in London on 22 April 2017. He had suffered with multiple food allergies all his life and was well used to ordering meals to fit his restricted diet when in restaurants. For lunch that day, Owen ordered a grilled chicken burger at a Byron Burger restaurant, which, having explained his allergies to the server, and having no other information on the menu to the contrary, he was assured would be “plain grilled” and therefore safe for him to eat.
However, the chicken had in fact been marinated in buttermilk, to which Owen was highly allergic. He only ate a small amount as he could tell immediately that something was wrong. His breathing became more and more restricted, and he was using his asthma inhaler constantly as he and his girlfriend journeyed to London’s South Bank for what was supposed to be the second half of Owen’s celebratory day. Forty-five minutes later, having arrived at the London Eye, Owen collapsed, having suffered a massive anaphylactic reaction. Paramedics and a team at St Thomas’ Hospital tried everything they could but were unable to resuscitate him.
His family, led by me, are now calling for a change in the law surrounding how allergy information is displayed and given in restaurants in the UK. They hope that a simple change in labelling and better staff training will prevent any future needless deaths of people with food allergies.