Father Awaits Decision on “Owen’s Law” After Son’s Death from Undisclosed Milk


Owen Carey from East Sussex had just turned 18 in April of 2017 and was celebrating in London. He was allergic to peanuts, milk, wheat, and various spices.

He stopped at a Byron Burger for something to eat and, conscious of his food allergies, decided on plain grilled chicken.

While passing near the London Eye, he collapsed, suffering anaphylactic shock and was treated by paramedics on the scene. He was pronounced dead 45 minutes later at St Thomas Hospital. The meal contained milk.

Owen, who carried an epinephrine auto-injector with him had forgotten it at home that day.

Owen Carey and His Father, Paul Carey
Owen Carey and His Father, Paul Carey
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The coroner’s statement included the following:

The deceased died from a severe food-induced anaphylactic reaction from food eaten and ordered at a restaurant despite making staff aware of his allergies.

The menu was reassuring in that it made no reference to any marinade or potential allergenic ingredient in the food selected.

The deceased was not informed that there were allergens in the order. 

In 2021, Owen’s father, Paul Carey, established a foundation in memory of his son. He has been tireless in his efforts to pass “Owen’s Law,” legislation that would make the listing of allergens on menus a legal requirement.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) will discuss the proposal on December 13.

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Rebecca Sudworth, director of policy at the FSA, said:

We are recommending to the board that businesses should provide both written and verbal allergen information to consumers.

The paper [published earlier] sets out a range of options for how to deliver this approach which will be discussed by our board on 13 December.

Said Mr Carey:

Had the word milk been written next to the food he ordered… he would still be with us today.

We know the board have said they support Owen’s Law. It has been a question of when, rather than if, so I am hoping that will say they are going to take this forward.

If you have been prescribed epinephrine, please make sure to always take two auto-injectors along everywhere, every time, and to administer one when you first suspect anaphylaxis, then call emergency services.

Epinephrine is a life preserver, but it can’t help if you don’t have it when you need it.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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