Back in 2016, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse tragically passed away after suffering an allergic reaction from eating a pre-packaged sandwich. Her tragic death could have been avoided if there was a law in place that required businesses to provide the full list of ingredients and allergens on food packaging, even if the food was made on the premises.
This year, food allergen legislation is going to change forever with the introduction of a new regulation known as Natasha’s Law. Here’s what it will mean for food manufacturers and businesses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland…
What is Natasha’s Law?
After her family’s tireless campaigning for increased and improved transparency around food labelling requirements, Natasha’s legacy has now been laid in parliament.
Natasha’s Law will be introduced in October 2021 and will require UK businesses to provide the full list of allergens and ingredients on pre-packaged food sold on-site. Allergenic ingredients should be emphasised, for example in bold or in a different colour. This will protect those who suffer from allergies by allowing them to easily identify safe foods.
How will it impact the food industry?
As with any change in legislation, there comes a massive opportunity for businesses to grow and develop. At the same time, new laws mean new responsibilities and, for some, Natasha’s Law may not be as simple as it sounds.
When sourcing produce – whether locally or overseas – operators must now work with reliable suppliers to guarantee that their labelling is precise. This will allow those with food allergies to shop with confidence.
Is a label enough?
Because adapting to the upcoming changes may require a significant shift in existing operations, it’s important that those working in the food industry understand how it’ll impact their organisation and act now before October creeps up.
Ask yourself: has your team received sufficient allergen training? Are your food allergen processes and procedures clear and strict enough? Does your team understand the risk of cross-contamination during preparation and storage? Awareness and understanding of the new law is crucial, meaning manufacturers need to look beyond the label too.
How can manufacturers prepare to ensure compliance?
While there’s always a learning curve with new regulations, Natasha’s Law will provide a massive opportunity for staff to learn more about the importance of food allergies.
To ensure compliance, businesses must make sure the relevant training and legislation understanding is rolled out to all team members. Similarly, it’s important to check your existing food labels to see if they comply. It’s useful here to think about it from the customer’s perspective: is the label clear? Does it list everything they need to know? Are they able to buy and eat with confidence?
If you’re looking for knowledgeable senior and middle management staff who can ensure you’re always compliant, organised and ready for new changes, Silven are the team to turn to. Our dedicated consultants are experts in matching the right talent with the right business. We cover the full supply chain including development, technical, engineering, operational, and even commercial roles, so what are you waiting for? Contact us today to discover how we can help you find the people you need to take your organisation forward.