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Improved allergen labelling becomes law in Scotland

Posted: 11 February 2021 | | No comments yet

A new law is set to come into force in Scotland later this year which will make allergen information on certain products compulsory.

deli counter at a uk supermarket

Wrapped foods sold at delis such as cheese or meats will need to comply with the new law

New legislation, which will require food businesses in Scotland to include the product name and full ingredients, including allergen information on pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) foods has been laid in Parliament today.

It’s hoped new legislation will improve information about allergens and other ingredients in food packed in advance, mainly at the same place from which it’s sold, before being offered to consumers.

Examples of PPDS foods include sandwiches placed into packaging by the food business and sold from the same premises, wrapped deli counter goods such as cheese and meats, and boxed salads placed on a refrigerated shelf prior to sale.

This new requirement follows wide consultation, including engaging with business and enforcement stakeholders, and consumers on improving allergen information, to help prevent further food allergy deaths in the out of home environment.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) says it hopes the new law will offer increased protection and confidence for consumers living with a food allergy or intolerance in the food they buy out and about. On pack information will include the 14 ‘most common’ allergens specifically listed in food information law, as well as other ingredients which can trigger reactions.

The new law is intended to come into force on 1 October 2021 to align with the rest of the UK.

“The implementation of this new law supports the strong consumer call for complete allergen and ingredient information on PPDS foods, making life easier for many who need to have clarity and trust in the food they buy for safety and dietary reasons,” said Food Standards Scotland’s Chair, Ross Finnie.

“This level of transparency is a significant step forward in providing clear information for people with allergies, which can be life threatening if they consume food to which they are allergic.

“While the best level of consumer protection is vital, we recognise that changing labelling requirements will affect businesses, and have carried out extensive stakeholder engagement across industry and enforcement authorities to assess the benefits, risks and impacts.

“We will continue to engage with stakeholders to raise awareness through a communications campaign in the coming months to highlight the changes and provide support through practical guidance and online resources, including an allergen training package which will help businesses and enforcement officers.”

Food Standards Scotland says it will work closely with the Food Standards Agency to publish information to ensure that businesses of all sizes throughout the UK can prepare and adapt to these changes.

“I welcome that Scotland is moving forward and making these important changes. Everyone wants to understand more about what is in their food and we want to give them increased confidence about the food that they buy,” added Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon.

“Having information about allergens and ingredients upfront on the labels of all prewrapped food is crucial for people who have food allergies and I am pleased that we are making real progress here.

“I recognise that this is also a challenge for industry, which is why we are announcing these changes now. FSS will continue working with stakeholders over the next eight months to help industry prepare for when the new labelling requirements come into force in October.”

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