by | Mar 29, 2021 | Food Safety

What is Natasha’s law?

The UK Food Information Amendment, which is also known as Natasha’s Law, comes into effect from October 2021. It means that food businesses must provide ingredient information in full and label allergens on foods pre-packaged for direct sale on the premises. The change is being adopted to protect allergy sufferers and give them confidence in the food they buy.

 

Why is it called Natasha’s Law?

The change is named Natasha’s Law after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died after suffering an allergic reaction to an unknown ingredient in a Pret-A-Manger baguette in 2016. After eating the baguette, Natasha collapsed onboard her flight, dying of anaphylaxis shortly afterwards – the baguette no allergen information.

A group led by the parents of Natasha has been lobbying for the change which was successful in 2019 and comes into effect in October 2021.

 

How many allergy sufferers are there in the UK?

  • An estimated 2 million people in the UK are living with a food allergy.
  • Over 600,000 of these people have coeliac disease.
  • This does not include those with food intolerances.
  • Approximately ten people a year die from food-induced anaphylaxis.
  • There are approximately 1,500 asthma deaths each year, some of which are thought to be triggered by nan allergic reaction.

How will Natasha’s Law affect your business?

Natasha’s Law will only apply straight away in England – it will not be a legal requirement in the rest of the UK. However, it commonly thought that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will follow suit once the impact of the legislation is clear.

The new rules states that food which is prepacked for direct sale must clearly display the following information on the packaging:

  • Name of the food.
  • Full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients emphasised (for example in bold, italics or a different colour).

Click here to read a blog about the 14 major food allergens if you’re unsure. They include:

  • Celery
  • Cereals containing gluten (oats and barley)
  • Crustaceans (crabs, lobster, prawns)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Lupin
  • Molluscs (oysters and mussels)
  • Mustard
  • Sesame
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (for concentrations above ten parts per million)
  • Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias, and pistachios)

The new rules are most relevant for Cafes and Delis, businesses who tend to sell pre-packed food made on site such as salads and sandwiches. Most businesses of this type currently display signs prompting customers to ask a member of staff about allergens rather than labelling the product directly.

Most restaurants don’t provide pre-packaged foods so therefore this particular Law doesn’t directly affect them.

How to prepare for Natasha’s Law.

You have until October to implement the changes, but we recommend that you get a head start and proactively begin to make the changes required to your business well in advance.

Ensure that your staff are trained and have a sufficient knowledge of allergens. This doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated, you will find a simple allergen awareness course on our online learning platform.  It’s critically important for your business and for the health of your customers that your staff understand allergens and how to manage them.

Be sure that your ingredients are well managed. This means carrying out due diligence on your supply chain and having a robust system in place to identify changes to ingredients.

Decide on how you are going to label the products. There are many new technologies available to simplify this process for you. However, you decide to it, make sure that your staff are well trained in the process and the system is clear enough to avoid mistakes and misinformation.

Ensure that you continue to prompt your customers to ask about allergen and promote a culture of openness in your venue. This means that as well as providing ingredients on the label, continue to use signs which encourage your customers to speak to staff.

If you’re still unsure how to best prepare for Natasha’s Law, reach out to one of our team for more information.

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