Allergies or intolerances to various substances are a part of everyday life, it is estimated that 2 million people in the UK have some form for food allergy or intolerance.
While for many people an allergic reaction may be uncomfortable but not severe sometimes the consequences of consuming the wrong food can be devastating. In July 2016, 15 year old, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died on a flight from Heathrow after consuming a sandwich which contained sesame, something she was allergic too.
It is not always obvious whether food contains a substance that people may be allergic to so businesses are required to tell consumers if the products they sell or provide contain any of the 14 main food allergens.
How this information has to be provided varies depending on the type of business. While some prepacked foods must contain an ingredients list with allergenic ingredients highlighted, currently different rules apply for loose food and “pre-packed foods for direct sale” that is foods made and packed on the same premises from which they are being sold. In these cases the customer should be able to obtain the information in some other way e.g. by speaking to the person who made or packed the item.
In June Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced that a new law will be introduced to strengthen allergen labeling rules and require foods that are pre-packed directly for sale to carry a full list of ingredients.
The new legislation, to be known as “Natasha’s Law”, is to be introduced by the end of summer and is due to come into force by summer 2021 to give food businesses time to adjust to the new rules. This will apply in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Our specialists can help you with managing your food hygiene matters, please speak to your normal PIB Risk management contact or get in touch using firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.