What is Natasha’s Law – and are you ready for it?

New allergen legislation starts on 1 October 2021 – here's how you get prepared for Natasha's Law

With not long to go now until Natasha’s Law comes in, it is important that you prepare your business and staff in plenty of time. To help you, we have gathered the key information on what you need to include on the label, whether your business needs to adhere to the new law and how you can get ready.

What you need to know

From 1 October this year, laws on food labelling will change in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The new legislation, Natasha’s Law, states that all food that is pre-packaged for direct sale (PPDS) must list all ingredients and allergens clearly on the label. This applies to you if you prepare food on site for sale and package it ready for customers. It could be items such as pre-packed sandwiches, cakes and salads.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) explains that any food that is not in packaging or is packaged after being ordered by the consumer does not need this new labelling, but you must be able to tell customers what allergens are in the products when asked.

The change in legislation comes after a successful campaign from Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, following the tragic death of their daughter Natasha, who suffered anaphylactic shock after unknowingly eating sesame seeds in a sandwich.

What should the label look like?

Labels should state the name of the product followed by a list of all the ingredients. If the product contains any of the 14 allergens, they should be clearly highlighted. This could be in bold, capitalised, contrasting colours or underlined. You can find a full list of label requirements here.

Allergen label example

What do I need to do to prepare?

1 Review all your suppliers and the ingredients and products being delivered to you. What information do you receive from your suppliers? What format is this information currently in and how can you make sure this information can be accurately detailed on labels? Chat to your supplier about any changes you think they may need to make. Don’t forget to consider any seasonal ingredients or recipes you may use throughout the year.
2 Is your system suitable for the new changes to labelling? Is your printer capable of creating the volume of labels you will need? The more you can automate, the less room for human error.
3 Make sure all staff are fully aware of the new laws, what is required of them and how it affects your business. Whether they’re involved in making the food or front of house, everyone needs to be aware of the changes.
4 The more prepared, the better. Have a trial run of your new processes to highlight any problems before the new law comes into place.
5 Take stock. Allow sufficient time to do a full review of all the changes made to ensure everything is in place and running smoothly.
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