What is Natasha’s Law?
New Food Labelling Requirements – Schools, Colleges & Nurseries are NOT exempt
Natasha’s Law came into effect on 1st October 2021.
For those of you not familiar with Natasha’s Law and its origin, the BBC reported on it on the 25th June 2019, which covers the case surrounding the tragic demise of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.
Our own topical reports written prior to the law becoming live, also make for intelligent reading.
What is in the bag?
The law requires all food outlets to provide full ingredient lists with clear allergen labelling on Pre-Packed for Direct Sale foods (PPDS).
PPDS is food that is prepared, prepacked and offered or sold to consumers on the same premises.
Schools, Colleges & Nurseries are now required to list all ingredients and allergens on the labels of any food made on site, e.g. snacks, sandwiches, salad pots or cakes, that are pre-packaged prior to them being offered for consumption.
Whilst this wide-reaching law is mandatory, sources confirm some suppliers sending in fresh goods to retail and schools, are still omitting the correct adequate labelling. In this scenario goods should be refused and sent back to the supplier. However, with the supply and demand pattern, this leaves the client (especially if a school) with an extremely difficult decision if there are no other alternative food products on offer to fulfil demand. Indeed, from the data gathered below, this is a potential nightmare for schools to maintain proficiency and compliance during one of their busiest times of the day.
There are 8.9 million pupils attending 24,400 schools in England in 2020/21. This includes state-funded and independent schools.
Those that were known to be eligible for free school meals, represented 1.74 million pupils.
Over 420,000 pupils have become eligible for free school meals since the first lockdown on 23 March 2020. This compares to 292,000 for the same period (March 2019 to Jan 2020) before the pandemic.
The Reality Check
Any amount of our time that we spend in these peak stress-related quadrants, can unfortunately lead to staff (or indeed anyone of us if we are honest) leaning towards cutting corners to meet either or both; a demand-led situation or to just simply keep the flow of pupils moving in the inevitable bottleneck of ever-hungry kids!
You can already picture a similar scene below, although maybe not so calm! Now reality check.
The omission or incorrect editing of a simple label, that may seem irrelevant at the time, could in reality be the stark difference between the life and death of an Anaphylactic.
The FSA is very clear in assisting to make us fully aware and intelligent as to the requirements of this new law. A short video giving a brief outline may help illustrate an overview.
It is vital that any information about food allergens is transparent, reliance on verbal information can place your customers at unnecessary risk.
Clearly listing all ingredients, as set out in PPDS legislation, is a way to protect both your school and your customers from avoidable harm. This obtained information also provides a safety net and reassurance for anyone living with food allergies.
Examples of food which is pre-packed for direct sale
- Sandwiches packaged by the food business (school) and sold or offered from the same premises.
- Fast food which is wrapped or packaged before a customer selects or orders it. – burgers, sausage rolls, panini, etc.
- Bakery products which are packaged before a customer selects them.
- Any potted items with lids on – salads, jellies, mousses, fruit pots, yoghurt/granola pots etc.
- Free issues or hospitality of cakes if they are packaged at the premises.
- Food packaged and sold by the same business at a separate outlet – i.e. Sixth Form or conveyed meals.
- Pupils pre-packed lunches for school trips.
Examples of food which is not pre-packed for direct sale
- Food not in packaging.
- Food which is loose before a consumer selects or orders it, which is then packaged afterwards.
- Loose food (non-pre-packed), such as sandwiches on a tray, counter served foods and fast food which was not packaged at the point it was ordered.
- Allergen information must still be available for consumers.
This will affect both Primary and Secondary schools as there is no age exemption regardless of whether a pupil can interpret the information or not.
We would do well to familiarise ourselves with these important fact-related points below:
- The majority of people who suffer near-fatal reactions or death had no idea that they were at risk.
- Additionally, those who are at risk find the unpredictability of living with food allergies daunting.
- Young adults and teenagers are classed as particularly ‘at risk’ of suffering severe reactions.
New laws often seem daunting and the additional responsibilities they bring with them. We offer a concise range of Labels and Printers for Natasha’s Law giving you the peace of mind and assurance that you are well on your way to achieving legal compliance.
PFW are always available to give you the much-needed guidance on what you may have to invest in to keep or become up-to-date legally with Natasha’s Law compliance.