Helping companies meet new labelling law requirements

Posted: 2 October 2020 | | No comments yet

FSA has released a guide to enable food businesses to identify precisely which products will require new labelling when Natasha’s Law comes into force next year.

Natasha’s Law labelling

This year has presented enormous challenges to food businesses across the world. Set against a backdrop of unprecedented economy pressures and consumer safety issues due to the pandemic, the UK food services industry must now contend with further disruption to its daily working practices by ensuring compliance with new allergen labelling laws. The law, which was enacted last year, requires all ‘prepacked for direct sale’ food to state all ingredient and allergen information on their labels.

To support companies with meeting this new obligation, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a campaign to highlight who needs to act and what they should do.

Natasha’s Law, which will come into force on 1 October 2021, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will help protect food hypersensitive consumers by requiring potentially life-saving allergen information on the label of ‘prepacked for direct sale’ food. This means food that is packaged and sold (or offered to consumers) on the same premises and is also in its packaging before it is ordered or selected. The FSA has produced a guide to help businesses check exactly which products will require the new labelling. 

Labelling laws could attract customers

BSI, a food safety training and certification company, commissioned research that identified consumer perceptions relating to allergens. Highlighting the impact that allergens have on consumer behaviours, 30 percent of consumers surveyed said a lack of information on allergens such as nuts, gluten or seafood makes them avoid eating at certain outlets. Similarly, 45 percent confessed that a lack of confidence that staff working for food service organisations have been properly trained about allergens, dietary requirements and hygiene stops them from eating at certain venues.

With Governments across the UK having introduced Natasha’s Law, BSI say businesses should use this opportunity to boost trade and regain consumers’ trust. 

Richard Werren, EMEA Director for Food & Retail Supply Chain at BSI, said: “The labelling of allergens on each pre-packaged food, as well as other issues relating to food safety such as cross contamination, isn’t an easy process and is one that we know some businesses are concerned about getting ready in time. We’re encouraging organisations today to reach out for support on food safety to ensure their staff are properly trained and independently certified when it comes to the identification of ingredients and the management of allergens and labelling ahead of Natasha’s Law coming into force this time next year.” 

Rebecca Sudworth, Director of Policy, FSA, said: “We know this is a challenging time for food businesses, but we encourage them to check if they are affected by this new law and what they need to do to meet the requirements. 

“Everyone deserves to be able to make safer choices when they buy their food,” she said.