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Byron issues statement on teen allergy death as family demands new law

The family of a teenager with a dairy allergy, who died after consuming grilled chicken in Byron, have called for a change in the law.

Owen Carey was celebrating his 18th birthday when he ordered the chicken dish at the chain's outlet at London's O2 Arena. He told staff about his allergy but was not told the meal included buttermilk.

Carey's sister Emma Kocher spoke outside Southwark Coroner's Court today, after the coroner ruled that her brother was misled into believing there were no allergens in meal.

She said, 'It's simply not good enough to have a policy which relies on verbal communication between the customer and their server, which often takes place in a busy, noisy restaurant where the turnover of staff is high and many of their customers are very young.

'This leaves far too much room for error on an issue we know far too well can cost lives. We hope we can bring about change with Owen's Law for better allergen labelling in restaurants.

Byron's CEO has issued a statement. Simon Wilkinson said, 'I would like to extend both Byron’s and my deepest condolences to Owen’s family and his many friends. We take allergies extremely seriously and have robust procedures in place.

'Although those procedures were in line with all the rules and guidelines, and we train our staff to respond in the right way, it is a matter of great regret and sadness that our high standards of communicating with our customers were not met during Owen’s visit.

'We believe that Byron always did its best to meet our responsibilities, but we know that this will be of no comfort to Owen’s family.

'We have heard what the Coroner said about the need to communicate about allergies. It is clear that the current rules and requirements are not enough and the industry needs to do more - more to help support customers with allergies and more to raise awareness of the risks of allergies.

'We will make it our priority to work with our colleagues across the restaurant industry to ensure that standards and levels of awareness are improved.'