On 1 October 2021, when Natasha’s Law comes into effect, the requirements for food labelling on pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) food will change. This requires businesses to provide a full ingredient list on the packaging of food prepared on the premises for same-day sale.
Organisations will have to display clearly the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with any of the 14 key allergens emphasised, whether in bold, italics or a different colour; they should also be listed in order of quantity used, starting with most and ending with least. The changes apply to companies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; and similar requirements are expected to be introduced in Scotland by Food Standards Scotland.
This amendment was brought about thanks to the actions of a lobbying group led by the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to an undeclared ingredient in a pre-packed meal. The law succeeds Regulation (EU) No.1169/2011, the Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC), introduced in December 2014, which required small businesses to make allergen information about pre-packed or loose food available to customers somewhere in store, either orally or on a shelf ticket. Large businesses had long had to comply with labelling requirements.
For most organisations, the big changes will be behind the scenes, where they will have to set up and maintain systems for capturing and storing ingredient details, and provide machinery to label PPDS items. They will have to brief and train suppliers, who may range from small, niche companies to large concerns with infrastructure already in place, and explain what the law demands and what is required of them; compliance checks and supply audits will also need to be updated. In addition, when taking on new suppliers, buyers will need to ensure they are able to provide exact details of ingredients.
Training throughout all businesses, from chief exec to chefs and front of house, will also be essential; if compliance does not come from the top, it will be hard to enforce elsewhere. To embed this successfully, a combination of online, face to face, one to one and group education may prove most effective.
It is estimated that nearly one in five people in the UK suffer from an allergy. Natasha’s Law is intended to protect these people and give them confidence in what they buy to eat; it is a good thing.
On Tuesday, 22 June at 3pm, an IoH Webinar will take place on Natasha’s Law and What You need to know to be Compliant.
The webinar will have a panel of three experts: Caroline Benjamin MIH, founder of Food Allergy Aware; Jacqui McPeake, founder of Jacs Allergen Management; and Arvind Thandi , Team Leader of Food Hypersensitivity / Food Policy for the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
As always, this webinar is free to Members and just £10 to non-members. You can book your place here.