The government has confirmed that 'Natasha's Law' will come into force in October 2021. Aiming to provide more protection for millions of allergy sufferers across the UK, the law will require food businesses to include full ingredients labelling on pre-packed foods for direct sale.
Hospital caterers preparing foods such as sandwiches, baguettes, paninis, wraps and salads in their own kitchens for sale pre-packaged in their retail outlets will be affected by this legislation.
Presently food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information on the label, meaning allergy sufferers sometimes lack confidence buying food to eat whilst they are out.
This strengthening of the legislation follows the tragic death of teenager, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered an allergic reaction to a baguette from Pret a Manger.
Food Minister Zac Goldsmith says: "This is a significant moment for the millions of allergy sufferers in England and a fitting tribute to Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse’s tireless campaigning. The introduction of this law will make it easier for allergy sufferers to make clear, safe choices when buying food."
At the beginning of October the Food Standards Agency will publish information to help businesses prepare and adapt to these changes.
The Food Standards Agency Chair, Heather Hancock says: “I encourage businesses large and small to work with the Food Standards Agency to get this right. Success will mean more choice and better protection for the millions of people – our families, friends, colleagues and neighbours across the UK – who have food allergies.
“The reforms cover labelling requirements for foods that are prepared and packed on the same premises from which they are sold – such as a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff earlier in the day and placed on a shelf for purchase.
“Currently these foods, known as pre-packed directly for sale, are not required to have product labels which provide information on the full ingredients or the allergens contained.
“Food businesses across the country have already taken steps to improve food labelling and outlets are being urged to do all they can ahead of the implementation date to help consumers make safe food choices.
“These changes will apply to businesses in England, with similar arrangements expected to follow in the devolved nations to provide a UK wide approach to protecting consumers.”