Thursday 5th September
Millions of food allergic individuals across the country will be protected by a new law laid in Parliament today requiring food businesses to include full ingredients labelling on foods pre-packed for direct sale. The new law will come into force in October 2021, giving businesses a transition period to prepare for the new rules. The Anaphylaxis Campaign welcomes this move and would encourage the food industry to use the time given to prepare for the changes.
Following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died in 2016 after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette, the government confirmed stronger laws would be implemented to protect those with allergies and give them greater confidence in the food they buy.
The new legislation, known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, covers 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. The new law will require these products to carry a full list of ingredients with the 14 allergens, as listed in European Legislation, emphasised on the packaging.
Currently, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information on the label, meaning food allergic individuals sometimes lack confidence buying food to eat whilst they are out.
The Food Standards Agency Chair, Heather Hancock said: “This is an important and welcome step towards our ambition for the UK to become the best place in the world for people who have food allergies and intolerances.
“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 family of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse said: “This is a hugely significant day for allergen sufferers in this country. The introduction of Natasha’s Law brings greater transparency about what people are buying and eating, lays down new standards for the food companies, and highlights the battle against the growing epidemic of allergies.
“Natasha was a spirited campaigner for justice and today she is smiling down on us knowing that this law well help ensure others do not suffer in the way our family does, and always will, following the loss of our beloved daughter and sister.
“We would like to thank ministers for their unflinching support in doing the right thing on behalf of all people with allergies.”
The Anaphylaxis Campaign would like to say how fantastic Natasha’s parents, Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, have been in raising the issues around food safety for all people with food allergy at this very difficult time for them.
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.