New Allergen Labelling Legislation Announced for Food 'Pre-Packed on Premises for Direct Sale' aka 'Natasha's Law'

In line with the recommendation made by the Food Standards Agency following their consultation, Defra has confirmed that new food labelling laws will be introduced requiring all businesses who prepare and package food on the same premises to which they are sold are to carry a full list of ingredients and highlight the presence of the 14 allergens on such products.

This will apply to all food ‘pre-packed on premises for direct sale’ (PPDS) – such as a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff earlier in the day and placed on a shelf for purchase. Currently, these foods are not required to carry labels and information on allergens, as it is expected that the customer can speak with the person who made or packed the product for this information. This has led people mistakenly assuming that the food does not contain any allergens; such as Natasha Ednam-Laperouse, who died due to an allergic reaction after eating a Pret a Manger baguette that did not carry allergen labelling.  The new legislation is to be known as “Natasha’s Law”.

The legislation is set to be introduced in England and Wales by the end of summer 2019, and will come into force by summer 2021.

This is designed to give businesses time to adapt and implement the changes throughout their organisations.

Many food businesses have already taken steps to improve food labelling. Others who have yet to make changes are being urged to do all they can ahead of the implementation date to help consumers make safe food choices.  Businesses should review their policies and procedures, and ensure that all ingredients are accurately recorded on the label attached to the food item being sold in time for the legislation to come into force.

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