As you may know from reading our previous blogs, we support Natasha’s Law, which is about to come into effect in October.
This UK Food Information Amendment, known as Natasha’s Law will require food businesses to provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on foods pre-packaged for direct sale on their premises.
This legislation is being introduced to protect allergy suffers and give them confidence in the food they buy, when out and about.
Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died in 2016 after buying and eating a baguette from Pret a Manger, that didn’t specify it contained the allergen, sesame, which she was allergic to. At the age of 15, she suffered a fatal allergic reaction.
Natasha’s parents, along with many other people, including us, have been campaigning for a change to the law ever since.
At the time of Natasha’s death, and until October, pre-packaged food prepared off-site, needs to be clearly labelled with a list of ingredients.
However, pre-packed food prepared onsite for direct sale, you only need to be sure that the allergen information is given in writing. There doesn’t have to be a label actually on the product, containing a full ingredients list.
The main problem with this is:
- Customers don’t always notice written notices on chalkboards, when a shop is bustling with lots of people buying their lunches.
- Customers don’t always see the menu, because of the layout of the premises.
- You are put under pressure not to hold people up behind you in the queue.
- And, members of staff serving are often too frazzled, serving customers, they may not take the time they should to answer questions.
This means that there are far too many obstacles put in the way, and too many possibilities for people to eat foods that are not safe for them.
It makes common sense, that the food industry should clearly label all foods, even those prepared onsite.
Our CEO, Juliann, who suffers from anaphylaxis has been campaigning for a long while for all food to be labelled, listing all ingredients found in the product.
Following the discussions around the new law, some retailers have suggested it might be difficult for small venues, those with maybe only two members of staff, saying it would be very time consuming.
However, most foods providing sandwiches and lunches, tend to sell a set selection, it shouldn’t be difficult for them to have labels created ahead of time.
Forward thinking providers might even consider designating one area for use of nut-related foods, so as not to contaminate other foods being prepared at the same time, and even displaying them in a different section of the shop.
There are over two million allergy sufferers across the UK, which mean by ignoring these customers, businesses may in time lose their custom completely, and that of their friends. Friends of people with allergies are not going to want to eat in venues where their allergy-suffering mate stands a chance of having a fatal allergic reaction!
Natasha’ Law is a great start towards the food industry taking more responsibility for its customers, rather than passing it all on to the customer.
You can read more about Natasha’s Law: