From 1 October 2021, new rules came into force to businesses selling prepacked food for direct sale.
The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 (known as Natasha’s Law) – named after a teenager who died in 2016 after eating a Pret a Manger sandwich – means significant changes for labelling of food pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS).
Items such as sandwiches and salads must have food allergen labelling which declares the name of the food and a full list of ingredients. If any of the 14 allergens are present in the food, they must be emphasised in the ingredients list.
There are 14 allergens which must be declared by law when used as ingredients: celery, cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs, mustard, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, soya and sulphur dioxide.
Officers from North East Lincolnshire Council’s Commercial Regulatory team, which includes Food Safety, Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, have been conducting pro-active advice visits, alongside their normal inspection regime, since late summer 2021 to prepare businesses for this new legislation by providing advice and assistance.
A number of businesses have been visited, and of those, almost half were initially non-compliant with the new law. Officers have worked with these businesses to ensure they know what they have to do and are fully complying with the legislation.
Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “Tragically, around 10 people a year die from food induced anaphylaxis.
“Food businesses have a legal duty to provide information about the presence of 14 allergens required to be declared by law which are in the food or drink they sell.
“It is very important for businesses to get up to speed with this new legislation to ensure that they comply with it and their customers are as safe from a potential anaphylaxis reaction as possible.”
He added: “Our officers are working hard to make sure businesses are aware of this new law and are there to help in the first instance, so if anyone is unsure whether the law applies to them or what they need to do if it does, then they should get in touch.
“We are currently in an engage, explain and educate phase, but eventually, officers will take enforcement action on those businesses that put lives at risk.”
Find out what you need to do to meet the requirements set out by law about the new allergen labelling: www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/introduction-to-allergen-labelling-changes-ppds