How many of us buy pre-packaged food from well-known, reputable food chains without considering the potential consequences of severe reactions, which in extreme cases have been fatal? And yet it is thought an estimated one in four people in the UK suffering from an allergy at some point in their life, this has been a ticking time bomb.
When 15-year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse bought an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette from Pret a Manger at Heathrow airport, she had no idea that it contained sesame seeds. They weren’t listed among the ingredients on the label as the baguette was made on the premises and Pret had no legal obligation to do so.
But Natasha was extremely allergic to sesame. She suffered an extreme allergic reaction and tragically, died in a French hospital before her mother could reach her or the doctors could save her.
Lobbying to revise information labelling laws
Possibly this wasn’t the first time that such a tragedy had happened, but this time Coroner Dr Séan Cummings criticised the chain for inadequate labelling and wrote to the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, calling for an overhaul of the current labelling system.
In October 2021 the UK Food Information Amendment – also known as Natasha’s Law – will come into force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with similar legislation expected to follow from Food Standards Scotland.
This legislation will require all businesses selling prepackaged food prepared on the premises to be labelled with the name of the food and a full list of ingredients with all potential allergens such as dairy products, nuts and seeds, fish and shellfish, wheat and soybeans to be highlighted with bold, italic or different coloured text.
This brings labelling of prepared-on-premises food into line with food products prepared off-site, although at present the legislation doesn’t include food made to order, takeaways or home deliveries.
Meeting your legal requirements
The UK Food Labelling Resource is a non-profit information group set up to help businesses comply with this new legislation, offering resources such as their downloadable Natasha’s Law Risk Framework e-book.
The legislation will affect all businesses, from national chains to local independents, so if the products being offered to the public at large involves preparing prepackaged food, then companies will need to ensure that the packaging for these products is compliant.
At PFW Labels we are fully acquainted with your new legal requirements under Natasha’s Law and can guide you through the process of designing or redesigning your labelling to ensure it conforms to the law while still looking as good as the contents taste. Give us a call on 01270 766566 for expert advice and peace of mind.