The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued detailed guidance for companies on new labelling laws coming into force in 2021.
Under Natasha’s Law, allergen labelling rules will become a legal requirement on all ‘prepacked for direct sale’ food, with labels on affected products required to state all ingredient and allergen information. This includes food that is packaged and sold or offered to consumers on the same premises and is also in its packaging before it is ordered or selected.
Natasha’s Law is named after 15-year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died tragically after suffering an allergic reaction to a baguette purchased at Pret A Manger. At her inquest, the food labelling was found to have been inadequate. Her parents have since campaigned for a change in the law to better protect food hypersensitive consumers.
Natasha’s Law was enacted in 2019 and is due to take effect in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on 1 October 2021.
Under the new rules, potentially life-saving allergen information must be provided on the label of ‘prepacked for direct sale’ food.
Ahead of the change in requirements, the FSA has published guidance to help food companies check which products must comply with the new labelling requirements.
The guidance has been issued in advance of implementation of the new rules to allow companies sufficient time to adapt to the new rules.
As well as food safety, it is hoped the new rules will help to improve consumer trust and confidence in food outlets. Poor labelling relating to allergens such as nuts, gluten and seafood are recognised as having deterred many from consuming food from certain brands or at certain outlets.