Natasha’s Law – a few months in
Natasha’s Law was introduced following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperous who died from anaphylaxis in 2016 after consuming a Pret a Manger baguette which contained sesame. Subsequent campaigning by Natasha’s family, who set up the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, and the outcome of the inquest into Natasha’s death led to the change in legislation. In September 2019, Natasha’s Law was passed, and catering operations were given two years to prepare to comply with the requirement to label all prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food and drink with a full ingredients list and allergens. This approach to labelling is used across manufactured foods as part of the Food Information to Consumers (FIC) Regulation 1169/2011.
The two-year preparation period for many operations was in fact a time of intermittent closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the focus firmly on navigating the requirements to operate in a covid safe manner and managing with restricted teams and increased staff absences. Additionally, Natasha’s Law raised several questions for catering teams, in particular around the definition of PPDS foods and risk management.
Risk is a key concern – are catering operations environments that can produce accurate labels? Real consideration has had to have been made to the most suitable approach for producing labels and identifying the operational practices required to mitigate risk.
As food procurement experts, aware of all the intricacies of the food supply chain, allmanhall realised the requirement early on to provide our clients with information, systems and support. This has included over a year of webinars, blogs, training, a suite of support resources, setting up accounts with a labelling supplier, introducing sandwich suppliers and, where appropriate, utilising a catering platform. The approach to meeting Natasha’s Law is not ‘one size fits all’ as it depends very much on the PPDS requirement, the use of systems and operational practices. Several clients were keen to eliminate risk altogether and asked allmanhall to introduce a sandwich supplier into their food procurement solution, to cover their PPDS range. For those that are producing labels in-house, catering teams have implemented their approach successfully and seem to be adjusting well to the new requirements. The labelling system which enables sites to produce compliant labels based on their own recipes has been well received:
”We love the sandwich labelling system; it is very easy to use…”
– St. Mary’s Calne school.
A review period for operations is now being carried out by many in foodservice, where any adjustments to processes can be implemented, with the improvements to the accuracy of information provided at the forefront of any changes. As food procurement experts, allmanhall are helping clients through this.
The FSA state “the new labelling will help protect your consumers by providing potentially life-saving allergen information on the packaging.” This is the aim of Natasha’s Law and hopefully the introduction of the legislation does not increase risk in operations without the support, systems and operational practices to produce accurate labels.
For more information regarding Natasha’s Law, please take a look at one of our previous blogs: https://allmanhall.co.uk/blog/natashas-law-one-month-to-go and https://allmanhall.co.uk/blog/preparing-for-natashas-law.