Natasha’s Law: An Update
It has been over a year since the new law around allergen management was passed in the House of commons, a change for the first time since the introduction of the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation in 2014. The new legislation, known as ‘Natasha’s Law’ follows the tragic death of the teenager, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, after suffering an anaphylaxis reaction from eating a sandwich from Pret a Manger that, unbeknown to Natasha, contained sesame seeds. Her parents fought for a change in the law to tighten up allergen management.
The new law will require food businesses to provide full ingredient labelling on foods Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS). The law will come into force in October 2021 to give the industry time to adapt to the change.
Until now only foods which are packaged and are sold off-site (such as in a supermarket) have to label the ingredients.
What are Prepacked Foods for Direct Sale?
The food standards agency states that Pre-Packed Foods for Direct Sale (PPDS) is food that is packed before being offered for sale by the same food business to the final consumer:
i) on the same premises; or
ii) on the same site; or
iii) on other premises if the food is offered for sale from a moveable and/or temporary premises (such as marquees, market stalls, mobile sales vehicles) and the food is offered for sale by the same food business who packed it.
Food is considered prepacked when it is put into packaging before being offered for sale and:
- is either fully or partly enclosed by the packaging; and
- cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging; and
- is ready for sale to the final consumer
Food that would be PPDS:
- Sandwiches placed into packaging by the food business and sold from the same premises.
- Sandwiches placed into packaging for a school trip or sport event
- Foods packaged and then taken by the same operator to their market stall to sell.
- A butcher who makes burgers or sausages which are prepacked to be sold on the same premises.
- Foods packed by a food business to be sold in its retail units located within the same building complex as the premises where the food was packed such as a train station, hospital, university or holiday park.
Food that would not be PPDS:
- Open hot dog in a cardboard tray (as can be alternated before serving)
- Sandwiches placed on wooden board for customers to help themselves to
- Prepared sandwich or burger that is made and wrapped after taking an order
- Meals served individually in schools from hot counter
- Cakes/ cookies loose in cakes stands that would be put into bags or onto plates to serve
What does Full Labelling involve?
According to the new rules, PPDS food will have to have the following information clearly displayed on the packaging or a label attached:
- The name of the food AND
- an ingredients list including allergenic ingredients. The allergenic ingredients within the food must be emphasised every time they appear in the ingredients list (in the same way as labels on pre-packed foods) For example, the allergens in the food can be listed in bold, in capital letters, in contrasting colours or underlined.
How caterers can manage the new law
The new law will mean caterers will need to consider how to label any foods packaged on site to ensure the information is accurate. Although still a year away, now would be a good time to start thinking about what products would fall into the PPDS category.
Organisations will need to consider the implications of labelling specific allergens in situations where there is any risk of cross-contamination, such as in the ‘May Contain’ statements on labels. Current law requires businesses to manage cross-contamination risks effectively but recognises that where risk cannot be removed it is acceptable to communicate this to consumers.
Many catering management software programs are starting to investigate how this can be managed, for example Saffron will be able to connect to LabelLogic Live (a labelling system made by Planglow) which will allow labels to be automatically produced from recipes in the correct format.
Take home message – what should caterers do now?
- Start looking at which foods currently served would fall into the PPDS category and therefore be included under the new law
- Start to consider how labelling would be done, in the most accurate but time effective way
- Consider if any of the PPDS products would have a risk of cross contamination and if a ‘May Contain’ statement is also needed in the label
To read the full guidance these can be found on the Food Standards Agency Website ‘Food allergen labelling and information requirements Technical Guidance’ Published June 2020: https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/fsa-food-allergen-labelling-and-information-requirements-technical-guidance_0.pdf
We can help…
allmanhall can assist you with managing food allergies. Whether you are looking for allergen training for your team, support with the new labelling law or for any other support, please call us on 01225 745520 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org