What is Natasha’s Law and what does it mean for your business?
The UK Food Information Amendment, which is also known as Natasha’s Law, came into effect from October 2021. It means that food businesses must provide ingredient information in full and label allergens on foods Pre-Packed for Direct Sale (PPDS) on the premises. The change is being adopted to protect allergy sufferers and give them confidence in the food they buy. It has now been confirmed by Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, that the whole of the United Kingdom will be affected by the legislation which became law in October 2021.
Types of food affected
Any food which is PPDS; predominantly this means in-house, wrapped or placed in packaging and then put on display for sale. This could include products like sandwiches, salads, snacks and cakes.
What must be done to comply?
The new rules states that food which are PPDS must clearly display the following information on the packaging:
- Name of the food.
- Full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients emphasised (for example in bold, italics or a different colour).
Who does it affect?
The new rules are most relevant for Cafes and Delis, and businesses who tend to sell pre-packed food made on site such. Most businesses of this type in the past displayed signs prompting customers to ask a member of staff about allergens rather than labelling the product directly. Following the implementation of Natasha’s Law, this will no longer suffice.
How to comply with Natasha’s Law
If you have not done so already you will need to act fast and proactively begin to make the changes required to how you document the ingredients on your pre-packed products, ensuring that any allergen is clearly marked in bold italics.
Ensure that your staff are trained and have a sufficient knowledge of allergens, this doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. It’s critically important for your business and for the health of your customers that your staff understand allergens and how to manage them.
Be sure that your ingredients are well managed and known so that the ingredients can be documented on the packaging as required. This means carrying out due diligence on your supply chain and having a robust system in place to identify changes to ingredients.
Decide on how you are going to label the products. There are many new technologies available to simplify this process for you. However, you decide to it, make sure that your staff are well trained in the process and the system is clear enough to avoid mistakes and misinformation.
Ensure that you continue to prompt your customers to ask about allergen and promote a culture of openness in your venue. This means that as well as providing ingredients on the label, continue to use signs which encourage your customers to speak to staff.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
Businesses identified for failing to follow the new rules could face a fine of up to £5,000 per offence. But even more concerning is the potential damage to the reputation of your brand, if a serious allergy incident occurs, which is almost impossible to calculate.
If you’re still unsure how to best to comply with Natasha’s Law, reach out to us for more information or if you are unsure about allergens, click here to read our article about the 14 major food allergens. They include:
- Cereals containing gluten (oats and barley)
- Crustaceans (crabs, lobster, prawns)
- Molluscs (oysters and mussels)
- Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (for concentrations above ten parts per million)
- Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias, and pistachios)