Understand the change in the food business industry and how it can help businesses improve food safety for their customers. Learn how to comply with this new legislation.
Published 31 Jan 2023
The UK Food Information Amendment, also known as “Natasha’s Law” intends to protect food allergy sufferers and give them security in the food that they are buying. Natasha’s Law aims to increase transparency within the food industry in order to better protect both the customers and businesses.
Natasha’s Law took effect on the 1st of October 2021—requiring all food produced and packed for sale in the same premises to provide complete ingredient lists. This means that any food business selling Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) foods will be required to identify all ingredients on the product label, with an emphasis on the 14 allergenic ingredients.
Any food that is wrapped in foil, in a membrane, or in paper bags before being sold is targeted by this law. This new legislation covers England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
Food allergy and food intolerance—also known as food hyper-sensitivity—are major conditions that affect millions in the population. Around 1 in 4 people in the UK—or 3.5% of the population—live with a diagnosed food allergy and about 600,000 are living with Celiac Disease (a condition that requires a Gluten-free diet). According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), around 26 million (10.8%) of adults and around 5.6 million (7.6%) of children in the United States have food allergies.
We are yet to find a cure for allergies but they can be managed by trigger prevention and treatment. It is one of the most prevalent, but often neglected, diseases around the globe.
There are foods that cause life-threatening effects when eaten like the 14 most dangerous allergens identified by the Food Standards Agency. They are:
Food information to Consumers (FIC Regulation) came into effect on December 13, 2014 requiring food businesses to list allergenic ingredients used in prepacked foods. Any meal containing any of the 14 main allergens mentioned previously must be labeled (on a sticker or in other material such as menus)—emphasized by font, style, or background color.
On July 17, 2016, teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse lost her life after a cardiac arrest caused by an allergic reaction. It was triggered by a prepacked baguette which, at the time, did not have allergen labelling. Natasha suffered an anaphylactic reaction to the sesame seeds of the baguette.
To improve the quality of life of persons who have food hypersensitivity and to assist them in making safe and informed food choices—allowing them to manage risk effectively—Natasha’s Law was enacted.
There are a variety of ways to communicate allergen information to customers for different types of food. We’ll look at two of these types—the prepacked foods and PPDS foods.
Prepacked food is food that has been bottled, canned, cartoned, or securely wrapped before being served or received, whether in a food establishment or a food processing factory. A list of of ingredients must be present on the packaging of prepackaged food. Allergens in the product must be highlighted in the ingredients list.
It refers to food that is packaged in the same location as it is provided or sold to consumers, and is packaged prior to being ordered or selected. It can include food that people choose for themselves (for example, from a display unit), as well as items stored behind a counter and some meals sold at mobile or temporary locations.
Labeling Requirements | SafetyCulture
Sandwiches, salads, and pies prepared and sold on-site are some examples of common items that fit into this category. Under Natasha’s Law, PPDS food, not only the prepacked foods, will have to clearly display the following information on the packaging:
Below are examples of PPDS foods provided by Food Standards Agency:
PPDS Food Examples | SafetyCulture
Food Businesses under Natasha’s Law include bakers, butchers, event caterers, fast food and takeaway restaurants, mobile sellers and street food vendors, restaurants, cafés and pubs.
Schools and nurseries are covered as well.
The labelling requirement change does not apply to PPDS food sold via distance selling, such as food purchased over the phone or through the internet. Businesses selling PPDS food in this manner must ensure that mandatory allergen information is available to consumers prior to purchase and during delivery.
Food sellers in distance selling manner provide allergen information in various ways such as:
Empower your team with SafetyCulture to perform checks, train staff, report issues, and automate tasks with our digital platform.
Adherence to Natasha’s Law can help your business grow in providing safe meals to customers who have food allergies or intolerances. SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) is a helpful tool in complying with this legislation. See below how SafetyCulture helps food businesses in various ways.
SafetyCulture (iAuditor) is a food safety management system software that has helped food businesses keep their customers safe. SafetyCulture helps food businesses comply with the changes in food packaging and allergen labelling laws enacted in Natasha’s Law through the following:
Evaluate and control food safety hazards for allergic consumers by using a digital checklist and perform allergen management with your mobile device.
Other guides (with free templates) for food businesses:
You can download SafetyCulture for free that includes most of the features and allows you to add up to 9 other users to your account.
Loida Bauto is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. An Interior Designer by training, she began to pursue her passion for writing in 2017. Her interests involve a diverse range of topics such as Disability, Universal Design, and Sustainability, among other matters that aim to improve the world we live in. She is a self-published book author in 2018 and 2021.
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