CTSI launches resources ahead of allergen law changes
Food industry organisations have released guides for businesses to help them navigate the implementation of Natasha’s Law on 1st October.
Businesses who sell pre-packed for direct sale foods, PPDS foods, across the UK will now have to include full ingredients on their products’ labels, with allergenic ingredients emphasised within that list.
Currently, food businesses can provide allergen information for prepacked for direct sale food by any means that they choose, including orally by a member of staff. The change in legislation places a duty on food businesses to label prepacked for direct sale food bringing the provision of allergen information in line with labelling for prepacked food. It is only prepacked for direct sale food which is affected by these changes.
Known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, the upcoming legislation has been introduced following the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse from an allergic reaction caused by a packaged baguette which, at the time, did not require allergen labelling.
‘Be Allergy Aware’ is a new food allergen campaign hosted by CTSI, which aims to raise awareness of the upcoming change in legislation. CTSI is offering resources for businesses in the food industry to help ensure they are compliant with Natasha’s Law, which include:
- a factsheet for businesses
- a series of posters in several languages reminding customers to notify staff of any allergies they may have
- an in-depth information video explaining the risks of improperly labelled food.
Similarly, Bureau Veritas’ ‘Natasha’s Law – A Guide to Compliance’ launched as, according to figures by The Independent, 40% of businesses had not yet even heard of Natasha’s Law. Included in Bureau Veritas’ checklist for businesses to implement before 1st October is:
- employee training and education – including handling customer questions
- suppliers – their responsibility to provide full ingredient and allergen information
- IT – having suitable software and printing capabilities for the labels
- trial runs – ensuring procedures are followed, and amended if necessary.
“A potentially life-saving requirement”
George Macfie, food technical manager at Bureau Veritas, said: “Natasha’s Law represents one of the biggest ever changes to food safety and labelling regulations, bringing in a potentially life-saving requirement for allergens to be highlighted on food packaging which is pre-packed for direct sale. It brings greater transparency about what people are buying and eating, lays down new standards for food businesses and highlights the increasing prevalence of food allergies, which is thought to affect around two million people in the UK.”