Ever wonder what would happen if the food you ate caused a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction? Unfortunately, for Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, this became a reality in 2016. On July 17th of that year, Natasha went into anaphylactic shock after eating an artisan baguette containing sesame seeds that were not listed on the label.
Sadly, just 15 minutes later, Natasha took her last breath. She was only 15 years old.
The tragedy of these events inspired the UK government to pass a law called “Natasha’s Law”, which requires all food pre-packed for direct sale to list ingredients in an easy-to-understand way. The purpose of this article is to explain what Natasha’s Law is and how it impacts society today.
What is Natasha’s Law?
Natasha’s Law is an allergy labeling law in the UK, named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after suffering an allergic reaction to the food she ate in a shop at Heathrow airport. It came into effect in October 2021 and requires that pre-packed foods display full ingredient labeling on the packaging. Consumers can now check if possible allergens are listed within any food item before they purchase it.
The new legislation also requires enhanced measures for checking that all foods served to customers meet specific safety requirements. The regulations cover allergen labeling of pre-packed or pre-wrapped food when sold for direct consumption or for use in catering.
When deciding upon what ingredients should be labeled on packaged goods, Natasha’s Law considers: (1) primary ingredients; (2) processed ingredients; (3) additives; and (4) compounds used as food additives. Food manufacturers have been given one year to comply with the law and review their packaging and labeling practices accordingly.
A brief history of Natasha’s Law
Natasha’s Law, which was implemented in England in 2021, requires businesses to provide allergy information on pre-packaged food. Natasha’s parents later became advocates for food allergen labeling and launched “Natasha’s Law: A Summary of Our Learning” in 2019. This document outlined their mission and proposed changes to existing laws, such as enabling councils the power to prosecute companies that do not adhere to new labeling regulations or do not keep up with changing legislation.
In memory of his daughter, Mr. Ednan-Laperouse created a foundation focused on raising awareness about food allergens and working toward greater protection for those with allergies. Thanks to relentless campaigning from the Ednan-Laperouse family as well as Cross Party Support from MPs across both houses of parliament, Natasha’s Law was finally approved by the government in 2020 with implementation beginning in 2021.
What does Natasha’s Law require from food businesses?
Natasha’s Law requires all food businesses in the United Kingdom to provide more detailed allergen information to their customers. The law, which took effect on 13 December 2020, puts a new emphasis on providing clear and comprehensive labeling of food allergens.
Any food business selling unpackaged foods must now display a label or sign near the food that includes its main ingredients and, where present, any possible allergens listed in This list of 14 allergens: celery, gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin, milk, mustard peanuts (groundnuts), sesame seeds nuts (almonds), soya, sulfur dioxide, and sulfites.
In addition to this labeling requirement for unpackaged foods being sold or eaten on the premises of a business or served from buffets/bars/cafeterias/catering businesses, Natasha’s Law also requires food businesses in England to provide ingredients lists with allergen information for packaged pre-packed food for direct sale (PPDS) and non-prepacked foods made on the premises. Businesses with allergy policies in place must update those policies to reflect changes brought about by Natasha’s Law.
What is Pre-packed for Direct Sale (PPDS) food?
Pre-packed for Direct Sale (PPDS) foods are foods that are packed and sold directly or indirectly to the consumer, without going through a food business operator. This includes foods like sandwiches and cake slices in supermarkets, cafes, and bakeries. Natasha’s Law requires that clearly labeled information on allergenic ingredients must be provided on these types of food.
The law covers 14 different allergens, such as dairy, eggs, soybeans, wheat, and nuts. Food labels will provide clear allergen information about what ingredients are included in the product. Labels must be easy to read and understand so customers can determine whether a product is safe for them to eat or not.
It is important for consumers to read the allergen label carefully before purchasing or consuming any PPDS food item before it is too late! Reading labels will ensure that allergies do not take away from your enjoyment of eating out.
Why is Natasha’s Law important?
Natasha’s Law is a law aimed at improving food safety and allergen labeling for restaurant food served to consumers. The regulation requires restaurants and other food service outlets to clearly display information about the 14 major allergens present in their meals. This critical requirement helps to save lives by giving customers with food allergies an informed choice when they eat out.
Previously, many outlet owners either did not provide allergen information or presented it ambiguously, which left some food allergens hidden in plain sight or undetected altogether. Under Natasha’s Law, owners must make sure the details of ingredients used are communicated up front with clear allergen labels in both English and the customer’s language of preference. The new law also empowers local authorities to take enforcement action if necessary should any violations occur.
Natasha’s Law checklist
Natasha’s Law is a UK food allergen labeling law that requires prepared and pre-packaged food to be clearly labeled with the 14 main allergens. These 14 allergens need to be listed clearly on the package if they’re present in any form or as an ingredient.
When it comes to preparing your products for Natasha’s Law compliance, here are some of the things you should consider:
• Have your allergens listed in one place and easily visible – either on the pack or near it.
• Ensure your production systems can identify where allergens are involved and how they’re labeled correctly.
• Familiarize yourself with legislation requirements and applicable exemptions.
• Investigate which process might work best for you, from mixed product labeling to full disclosure labels – we have a range of process options available here at Displaysense!
• Purchase appropriate labeling materials and label printers that feature clear text and make sure they talk back to your ERP system.
By considering these points when getting ready for Natasha’s Law, you can ensure that your food packaging complies with the regulations set out in this law without fail.To learn more about allergies and how to prevent or manage allergic reactions, contact a Philadelphia-based ENT doctor today!