Lancashire parents honoured for work following tragic nut allergy death of teenage daughter after Indian takeaway

‘We can't change our story as much as we would love to.’

By Nicola Adam
Friday, 24th June 2022, 3:25 pm
Updated Friday, 24th June 2022, 4:06 pm
Megan Lee
Megan Lee

This is the harsh reality for the Lancashire parents of a young girl who lost her life because she ate takeaway food.

15-year-old Megan Lee suffered a fatal asthma attack in 2017 after unknowingly eating a takeaway meal containing peanuts. She had highlighted her allergy to staff at Royal Spice in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, before ordering.

Since the tragedy Megan's parents, Gemma and Adam Lee, have worked with Trading Standards officers at Lancashire County Council to produce Megan's Story, a short film featuring treasured photos and video of the Oswaldtwistle schoolgirl growing up, to make businesses aware of the risks associated with allergens and ensure other families don't have to go through the same ordeal.

Gemma and Adam Lee.

And now Gemma and Adam have been honoured for their dedication and commitment to raising awareness of food allergens with a Special Recognition Award at the Chartered Trading Standards Institute National Conference in Bristol.

Gemma said: "We can't change our story as much as we would love to. But what we can do is help others by stopping this story happening to someone else's family.

"We have continued to raise awareness of the dangers of allergens and hope we will make business owners and their staff think about their actions. No-one wants another tragedy to happen."

Adam added: "It was incredible to receive an award at the CTSI Conference 2022. To receive an award in our daughter’s memory is truly heart-warming."

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All food businesses in the UK have a responsibility to provide accurate allergen information to all customers that request it, and ultimately to provide food that is safe for people with allergies. Not doing so can have fatal consequences, as Megan’s tragic story shows.

The ‘Megan’s story’ video has been used all around the UK and was recently incorporated into a multilingual resource developed by Trading Standards Wales.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said: "Food allergy is a serious and growing public health issue.

"There has been a dramatic increase in allergic diseases in recent years and raising awareness of this for both businesses and the public is very important."

County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "I would like to thank Gemma and Adam Lee for their tremendous efforts to raise awareness of food allergens after the tragic loss of their daughter, Megan."

Councillor Green added: "The county council has developed a number of resources to increase awareness of food allergy as a serious issue and help educate young people and adults about the potentially life-threatening nature of the condition.

"We recently developed a free e-Learning package for businesses to raise awareness of this growing issue, to help ensure that what happened to Megan Lee doesn't ever happen again to anyone in Lancashire."

For more information about allergies visit: HERE

The multilingual allergen resource produced by Trading Standards Wales, which is based on resources from Lancashire County Council's trading standards team, can be accessed here: HERE