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Natasha’s Law now in force across UK but more still needs to be done

Posted: 1 October 2021 | | 1 comment

The parents of teenager, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died aged 15 from a severe food allergy, have welcomed a new law in her name designed to protect others from harm but issue a reminder that more work remains to be done.

ppds sandwiches

Pre-packaged sandwiches will now need to display a full ingredients list

Natasha’s law has come into force across the UK today (Friday 1 October 2021) and requires all food retailers to display full ingredients and allergen labelling on every food item made on the premises and pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS). The 14 major allergens must be emphasised within the list. 

The move follows the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016. Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, from west London, campaigned for the change in the law after the food labelling loophole, which meant Natasha was completely unaware that the baguette she ate contained sesame (which was allergic to), was highlighted at an inquest into her death in 2018.

With this new law now in effect, millions of people living with food allergies, intolerances and coeliac disease across the UK will be able to make safer choices about their food.

“Natasha’s Law is vital to protect the two to three million people in the UK living with food allergies from life-threatening allergic reactions. It is about saving lives and marks a major milestone in our campaign to support people in this country with food allergies,” said Nadim.

Products that will now need to be labelled include pre-wrapped sandwiches, fast food that’s already in packaging before a customer places their order, and supermarket items such as cheeses and meat from the deli counter that are already wrapped and ready to be served.  

“This change in the law brings greater transparency about the foods people are buying and eating; it will give people with food allergies confidence when they are buying pre-packaged food for direct sale such as sandwiches and salads. Everyone should be able to consume food safely,” added Nadim.

The new law applies to foods packaged on the same site at which they are sold before being ordered; foods pre-packaged elsewhere already require full ingredients labelling, with allergens emphasised in the list. 

Natasha’s Law is vital to protect the two to three million people in the UK living with food allergies from life-threatening allergic reactions.

The law also creates more consistency in the labelling of pre-packed products and gives more protection for people with food allergies and intolerances when purchasing ‘grab and go’ foods

“If these changes drive down the number of hospital admissions caused by food allergies, which have seen a threefold increase over the last twenty years, and prevent further tragic deaths such as Natasha’s, that can only be a positive thing,” commented Emily Miles, chief executive of the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

“I understand how difficult the past 18 months have been for food businesses, and I am grateful for the effort that so many have made to prepare for the changes and enable people to make safe decisions about the food they eat.”

At the inquest into Natasha’s death, the coroner concluded that had the baguette containing hidden sesame seeds that Natasha consumed, been properly labelled, she would not have eaten it.

“Natasha would not have died,” said Tanya. “Natasha was always extremely careful to check the food labels and until that terrible day in 2016 hadn’t had a severe allergic reaction for over nine years.

“Nothing can bring Natasha back, and we have to live with that reality every day, but we know in our hearts that Natasha would be very proud that a new law in her name will help to protect others.

“Natasha was a very public-spirited young woman – she wanted to make a difference, so this feels like a fitting tribute to her. However, there is still so much more to do to support people with food allergies including the appointment of an Allergy Tsar, to act as a champion for people with allergies to ensure they receive correct and appropriate support including joined up health care to prevent avoidable deaths and ill health.”

Link to Allergy Tsar petition https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/589716. 

For more information about Natasha’s Law, visit: www.food.gov.uk/businessguidance/introduction-to-allergen-labelling-changes-ppds. 

Examples of PPDS items can include:

  • Sandwiches, pies, burgers, ready meals or cakes/baked goods prepared and packaged by a food business before the consumer selects them
  • Foods prepared and packaged and sold at a market stall
  • Wrapped deli counter goods such as cheese and meats, and boxed salads placed on a refrigerated shelf prior to sale
  • Freshly made pizza or boxed salads from a supermarket deli counter which are packed on site and refrigerated prior to sale
  • Mixed bags of sweets which are made up, packaged and sold on the same premises or from a mobile unit such as an ice cream van.

Fourteen key allergens which must be clearly identifiable by law:

  • Cereals containing gluten
  • Crustaceans
  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Soybeans
  • Milk (including lactose)
  • Nuts
  • Celery
  • Sesame
  • Seeds
  • Sulphur dioxide and/or sulphites
  • Lupin
  • Molluscs

One response to “Natasha’s Law now in force across UK but more still needs to be done”

  1. Ron Cook says:

    Yes, a lot more still needs to done.
    The current (including amended) labelling legislation is currently discriminating against millions of diabetics (FYI there are twice as many diabetics as allergen sufferers in the UK) and I am calling on the government to include full nutritional labelling on every food product whether packed (as current), pre-packed (as amended) or loose, either on the product or in close proximity to the point of sale.
    It is totally farcical that, if you order a pizza for collection you don’t need to label it but, if it was bought off the shelf, you do – this also applies to every cake, loaf of bread, sausage roll, sandwich, restaurant/café/street vendor meals and products – including ice-cream vans.

    It is a great step forward that Natasha’s Law brings ingredients and allergens onto labels for PPDS but, allergen data for consumers has been law for several years anyway, so this amendment is not such a large step forward as it initially seems – there are a great number of loopholes even in this amendment…

    The discrimination continues because diabetics do not have access to any nutritional data on PPDS, loose products, or restaurant/cafe/street vendor products (this also applies to allergen sufferers as, as far as loose products and meals are concerned, there are no ingredients lists or allergens shown either, so if a diabetic goes for a meal they will not be given any carbohydrate values as the vast majority of venues do not seem to know what you are talking about, and most do not even seem to care – the same goes for allergen suffers as again, many venues do not have allergen information, even though they are supposed to). Without carbohydrate data, many diabetics will not even purchase but every one of them will not be able to calculate their insulin dosage – this lack of information can easily place a diabetic, and especially a child, into hypo or hyper-glycaemic shock and possibly coma – like allergies, diabetes can kill – this needs to stop and all right-minded people should query why this basic information is not available.

    Every producer of food product relies on their suppliers to provide, specifications for every ingredient supplied – sometimes extremely detailed documents as many of you know, therefore there is no reason why nutritional data should not be available to everybody, everywhere.

    The mental health battles that many diabetics suffer is heart breaking – frustration, anger, fatigue, lack of sleep and therefore tiredness, constant weighing of food, carbohydrate/insulin calculation, endless finger pricks and injections, if you are not lucky enough to have an insulin pump or sensors, endless hospital appointments etc. etc. – and for parents of diabetic children, you have all of the above plus the strain of trying to keep your child’s values in line – this is regardless of whether it is hot or cold (temperatures affect blood glucose levels), too much/too little exercise, are they drinking enough water at school, are they stressed over homework – are they being bullied at school because of their diabetes and again etc. etc. – is it to much to ask that for this portion of the population, the basic requirement of knowing nutritional values for your food is available?

    I have started a YouGov petition and would be appreciative if you could please sign –

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/598957

    Thank you

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