Natasha’s law comes into effect
Businesses will be subject to a new labelling law from today, in a move that will impact 2m people in the UK with food allergies.
The new law is named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a 15-year-old who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a baguette that contained sesame seeds but which did not declare allergens on its packaging.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is among those highlighting the new requirements for retailers.
David Pickering, CTSI lead officer for food safety, said: “CTSI welcome the introduction of the requirement to provide consumers with information on labels about allergenic ingredients on a wider range of food.
“This additional information will enable consumers to make safer informed choices and whilst it may be a challenge for some food businesses, they can seek advice from their local trading standards service on this important issue.”
An allergy aware campaign has been created by the Greater Gwent Food Group – a partnership between Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport City and Torfaen councils – with the support of the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
It includes a handy factsheet for businesses, a series of posters in several languages reminding customers to notify staff of any allergies they may have, and an in-depth information video explaining the risks of improperly labelled food.
Nathan Barnhouse, director of the FSA in Wales said: “Food hypersensitivity is a priority for the FSA and our ambition is for the UK to become the best place in the world for people living with food hypersensitivities.
“The changes to labelling requirements for prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food are a huge milestone for people living with food allergies and will help protect them by providing potentially life-saving allergen information on the packaging.”
Food Standards Scotland chief executive, Geoff Ogle, said: “This is a huge step in helping improve the quality of life for around two million people living with food allergies in the UK – with 200,000 of those living here in Scotland.
“If these changes drive down the number of hospital admissions caused by food allergies, which has increased threefold over the past 20 years, and prevent further tragic deaths such as Natasha’s, that can only be a positive thing.”