What is Natasha’s Law?
From October 2021 all food manufacturing businesses in England must clearly label all foods packed and produced on their premises with a complete list of ingredients – emphasising any allergens. This new piece of legislation has been named Natasha’s Law. Although Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have not yet adopted the law, it is thought they will quickly follow suit.
Natasha’s Law is named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who at the age of 15 passed away due to a severe allergic reaction. Natasha had a serious sesame allergy and was not aware that sesame seeds had been baked into the bread of a sandwich she had bought. The fact that the packaging did not display any allergen information reassured Natasha that the food was safe for her to eat.
Following this tragic accident Natasha’s family campaigned for increased transparency of UK food labelling, as a result, Natasha’s Law comes into force next year.
What it means for you?
Once Natasha’s Law comes into play in October 2021, all food manufacturers will be required by law to explicitly show every ingredient present in any food produced and packaged on site. Of those ingredients, it is essential that the presence of the following allergens is specifically highlighted on any labelling:
- 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)
What should your business do next?
Map the supply chain
Ensure you can trace the source of all the ingredients that go into your manufacturing process and clearly inform your distributors of them, so they can correctly inform customers.
Train your staff
You should encourage further training to all your staff about the impact unsatisfactory labelling can have on your business and customers. All employees should also be able to provide allergen information when asked by customers or auditors.
Technology can play a pivotal role in protecting and communicating any allergens present in food.
One example is Ubamarket – this scan-as-you-go app allows for checkout-free food shopping and has an allergen alert function. When you scan the product, it makes sense of the small print on labels and informs customers of any allergens contained within the product.
There are also technologies that link your food and ingredient databases to your label printing, making sure that the correct information is transferred easily and accurately, eliminating human error.
Another mobile app that could ensure you have suitable allergen controls in place is Riskproof, a safety checks app. This app lets you to save all your food safety checklists in one central location, allowing you to continuously monitor your safety protocols to ensure they have been met. And because all your information is safely stored in the Cloud, it can be easily accessed whenever you need to, making it particularly convenient when visited by auditors.
Natasha’s Law will save countless lives and, by preparing now for its implementation, you can stay ahead of the curve and best protect your business and customers. For further information on how you can manage allergens click here