We should not forget that “Prêt à manger” actually means “Ready to eat”.
Calling it PRET disguises the idea, though I’m sure those that work for them have rarely, if indeed ever, thought about their origins.
So they completely lost the philosophy of the company name when a poor girl succumbed to her allergy. We can speculate whether she had been kept in an ultra clean environment and so unable to build resistance to various problems but given that there is no realistic legislation able to provide for that, then our food compliance laws should have been able to provide sufficient basic protection.
For the deceased it was a ‘loose law’ which turned out to be just another example of ‘the market will provide’.
Except that it also turns out it that it doesn’t.
It is much better if legislation provides. That’s us. That’s why we elect governments, though very regrettably, many of us haven’t been terribly inclined to properly participate in that as of late.
So food regulations are pretty much like building regulations à la Grenfell Tower. If you do not design them properly, they don’t work. The market definitely does not provide.
“Prêt à manger”, whilst praising their own individual branches ‘independence’, and whilst complying with the letter of the law, seem to be lacking their own basic safety supervision.
Time was when they could and would advise you. As, indeed, they have me. Now, I fear they have way too few resources for that.
When visits are infrequent, a local branch of Prêt à manger may not have been receiving proper advisory direction, though as an increasingly large operation they should not have needed this. But enforcement visits could have flagged up the weaknesses in their management.
How much better for everyone if there were legislation that was properly supervised and enforced.
The essential for proper enforcement is proper resourcing.
Lacking that resource is just another example of government austerity undermining the country’s laws.
Legislation becomes no more than a wish list and when government undermines itself, it calls into question its very existence.