Millions of allergy sufferers across the country will be protected by a new law laid in Parliament today, requiring food businesses to include full ingredients labelling on pre-packed for direct sale foods.
Following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette, the government confirmed stronger laws would be implemented to protect those with allergies and give them greater confidence in the food they buy.
Currently, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information on the label, meaning allergy sufferers sometimes lack confidence buying food to eat whilst they are out.
A Statutory Instrument (SI) will be laid in Parliament later today (5 September 2019) tightening the rules by requiring these foods to carry a full list of ingredients - known as ‘Natasha’s Law’.
Food Minister Zac Goldsmith said:
This is a significant moment for the millions of allergy sufferers in England and a fitting tribute to Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse’s tireless campaigning.
The introduction of this law will make it easier for allergy sufferers to make clear, safe choices when buying food.
The family of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse said:
This is a hugely significant day for allergen sufferers in this country. The introduction of Natasha’s Law brings greater transparency about what people are buying and eating, lays down new standards for the food companies, and highlights the battle against the growing epidemic of allergies.
Natasha was a spirited campaigner for justice and today she is smiling down on us knowing that this law well help ensure others do not suffer in the way our family does, and always will, following the loss of our beloved daughter and sister.
We would like to thank ministers for their unflinching support in doing the right thing on behalf of all people with allergies.
‘Natasha’s Law’ will come into force in October 2021, giving businesses a transition period to prepare for the new rules. The Food Standards Agency will publish information for industry on October 1 to help ensure that businesses of all sizes can prepare and adapt to these changes.
The Food Standards Agency Chair, Heather Hancock said:
This is an important and welcome step towards our ambition for the UK to become the best place in the world for people who have food allergies and intolerances.
I encourage businesses large and small to work with the Food Standards Agency to get this right. Success will mean more choice and better protection for the millions of people – our families, friends, colleagues and neighbours across the UK – who have food allergies.
The reforms cover labelling requirements for foods that are prepared and packed on the same premises from which they are sold – such as a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff earlier in the day and placed on a shelf for purchase.
Currently these foods, known as pre-packed directly for sale, are not required to have product labels which provide information on the full ingredients or the allergens contained.
Food businesses across the country have already taken steps to improve food labelling and outlets are being urged to do all they can ahead of the implementation date to help consumers make safe food choices.
These changes will apply to businesses in England, with similar arrangements expected to follow in the devolved nations to provide a UK wide approach to protecting consumers.