What is Natasha's Law in regards to Allergens and Food Businesses in the UK? When Does it Come into Effect?
What is Natasha’s Law in regards to Allergens and Food Businesses in the UK? When does it come into effect?
What is Natasha’s Law in regards to Allergens and Food Businesses in the UK? The United Kingdom Food Information Amendment (2019) is a law for food inspection and in regards to allergens and food businesses. This law is commonly called Natasha’s law. This new law will come into force from the 1st of October 2021. It states that businesses must provide full details about the ingredients used in the process of making food along with allergen labeling on the packaging for direct sale products. So, that the people would know about what kind of food they are buying to protect themselves from various food allergies. This will boost their confidence whilst buying prepackaged food.
Why was Natasha’s Law initiated?
Natasha’s law was initiated when a teenager named Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after eating a prepackaged sandwich from the street food retailer Pret mange. She was allergic to the unnamed ingredient contained within the product which was sesame seeds present within the food. After eating the sandwich, Natasha, unfortunately, started to show the symptoms of Anaphylaxis. Her father administered her Epi-Pen to no effect and then administered a second shot, again to no improvement to her condition. Her parents already belonged to a well-known Allergy lobbying group in the UK. They started a campaign against this so that no such thing could happen again to anyone else and no other family would have to suffer the way that they did. Due to their actions and efforts, the government initiated an amendment for the protection of people who are allergic to some food ingredients. This law should give people the confidence to buy prepackaged food from any food business in the future.
What does Natasha’s Law mean?
Natasha’s Law, officially known as the Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019, is a piece of legislation in the United Kingdom that came into effect on October 1, 2021. The law is named in memory of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a teenager who tragically died in 2016 due to an allergic reaction caused by undeclared allergens in a pre-packaged sandwich she consumed.
Natasha’s Law aims to better protect people with food allergies by requiring food businesses to provide complete ingredient and allergen information on the packaging of all pre-packaged food items prepared on their premises. Prior to this law, food prepared and packaged on-site was exempt from comprehensive labeling requirements, which led to potential gaps in allergen information for consumers.
By mandating clear and accurate labeling of ingredients and allergens for all pre-packaged foods, Natasha’s Law seeks to reduce the risk of accidental allergen exposure and help individuals with allergies make informed and safer food choices.
Rules for the Prepackaged food
There are some rules which will be applied to all food businesses. Since one out of every five people suffers from food allergies in the United Kingdom. The Prepacked for Direct sale (PPDS) rule states that the following things must be shown on the package.
- Name of the Food
- Full ingredients ordered by weight/ size
- Allergic ingredients must be written in bold/ italic or in a different color.
This law is applicable for people with food businesses based in the United Kingdom, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
What is PPDS and who is Included in PPDS
PPDS is the abbreviation of Prepacked for direct sale. It is the amendment for food retailers and businesses operating within the United Kingdom. The food retailer businesses sell ready-to-consume foods, that are prepared and packaged on the same premises. The million-dollar question is who is included in this. The definition of Prepacked for direct sale is the food that is prepared and packed by the staff members of the restaurants, café, pubs, or even hotels. Natasha’s law is applied to ready-to-eat food that is put on a shelf, refrigerator, or cabinet for customers to be purchased and consumed directly. The law ensures that the food businesses give complete details of ingredients on the label but it’s applicable on those items which are Prepacked for Direct sale (PPDS). However, there is still uncertainty on some things like the cake made and stored on the glass shelf or a soup made in the kitchen served in the soup terrine that isn’t included within the scope of PPDS. So, the food agencies must work with big or small food businesses to ensure the protection of people from allergens by working on the ingredients labeling and all.
Challenges to overcome
For businesses who need to introduce labeling onto their products. They may have to face several challenges. It is a good thing to mention all the ingredients on the food item. But the presentation of food with large labels might affect the sentiments of people and may also impact the sales and their businesses. This may look unattractive to buyers because customers like items whether it is food or clothes that are attractive to the eye. Further, one thing that complicates the challenge is to write all the ingredients within ingredients and then within ingredients, etc. This will take more space on the label and complicate the purchaser and the marketing business. People love to buy those items which are eye-catching. In this way, it may not look appealing to the buyers.
Actions to help the process
Tracking all the ingredients in the food item is a hectic task manually. It is not practicable. You need to use some technology in this regard because human error is possible by manual checks and balances.
The system empowers the client to accumulate computerized fixing records from producers and suppliers of the items they purchase. The full ingredient list will be automatically compiled. That can be made possible for label printing. If any alterations have been done in making the product, then minor amendments and additions won’t take much time. This can be done in seconds to renew the label for printing.
What should You do?
Precaution is better than cure. To avoid food allergic reactions and to prevent yourself, simple rules must be kept in mind that will keep you safe from allergens.
-Teaching children about the food allergies
As one out of the five persons is allergic to some form of food in the United Kingdom. So, to protect your child you should teach them about their food allergies from a younger age so they won’t fall prey to severe allergic reactions in the future. Talking to your children will able to see those allergies as a normal part of their life. In that way, they will learn to manage their lives effectively. Now, food allergies have become a part of life in many homes. So, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Make conversations with children they won’t feel shy talking about them.
-Take proper medication
If you know you are allergic to some food. The first thing is just to avoid it. But if you accidentally consumed something, then keep your medicines along with you all the time. So, you get the first aid treatment in the second minute. The use of proper medication will help you prevent allergies in the future.
-Read the ingredients before consuming anything
Food is love. While consuming food, make sure you have read all the ingredients and labels. If the allergen ingredients are mentioned and you spotted it then you are in luck. Reading the ingredients before consuming them must be a part of your daily ritual.
-Wash hands before eating
Washing hands before eating is a necessary thing. It prevents germs and other illnesses from entering your body. Make a habit of handwashing every time before consuming anything.
Natasha’s Law is a highly beneficial addition to the United Kingdom’s legislative landscape, which has been widely embraced with open arms. In order to prevent devastating incidents like the one involving Natasha Ednan-Laperouse from happening again, it is of utmost importance that all stakeholders collaborate and actively engage in equal measure to ensure the successful implementation of Natasha’s Law. The allergen challenge that this law addresses is a matter of grave concern, as it has not only touched the lives of British citizens but also profoundly influenced the operations of food businesses across the country.
It is my hope that this article has provided you with valuable insights into Natasha’s Law, specifically in relation to allergens and the implications for food businesses in the UK. By understanding and adhering to this legislation, we can work together to guarantee that a tragedy like Natasha’s never happens again, not only in the United Kingdom but throughout the entire world. As a global community, we must learn from past mistakes and strive to create a safer environment for those with allergies, ensuring that such incidents become a thing of the past.
If you or your staff require further training on Allergens then please feel free to contact us for a no-obligation quote.
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