Natasha's Law - What this means to the food industry
On 5 September 2019, Parliament enacted ‘Natasha’s Law’, a statutory instrument requiring businesses in the food industry to include full details of ingredients on the labelling of foods which are pre-packed for direct sale.
The introduction of this legislation followed the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered a fatal allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger baguette. Prior to the introduction of Natasha’s Law, full ingredient or allergen information was not required to be displayed on foods packaged for direct sale.
The legislation will come into force on 1 October 2021, and from this date food that is prepared and packaged for direct sale will be required to display a full list of ingredients for each product, emphasising any allergens. There is currently no legal definition of food which is prepared and packaged for direct sale, but guidance from the Food Standards Agency suggests that the legislation will apply to foods which have been prepared and packaged on the same premises from which they are sold. (Examples of this would include sandwich shops and takeaway outlets.) The Food Standards Agency will supply further guidance on the new rules in December of this year.
Labelling specialists, Right Label Solutions Limited have developed a new labelling system for use by businesses in the industry. The aim of which is to increase industry compliance with the new legislation. The company’s new software, the ‘Allergen Manager’, scans a product’s list of ingredient for 64 known allergens and produces a label highlighting these allergens, which can then be affixed to packaging. This system is currently the only one of its kind, but other technological firms may follow suit.