Natasha’s Law Comes Into Effect Today; 1st October 2021
Natasha was allergic to a wide range of foods, and tragically died after eating a baguette which had sesame baked-in to the dough. There was no food allergen labelling attached to the baguette, because at that time there was no legal requirement to label foods that were prepared freshly and packaged for sale on site (known as ‘prepacked for direct sale’). After her traumatic death, Natasha’s parents have campaigned relentlessly and targeted decision-makers to ensure that other people are not endangered by this loop-hole.
The public is now safer
Thanks to their hard work and tireless energy, the Ednan-LaPerouse family have driven the government and food manufacturers to raise their game.
From today across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, food which is pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) has to comply with the same allergen labelling law as food which is packaged by another company off-site. PPDS food is food that is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to consumers. It is a single item, consisting of the food and its packaging, that is ready for presentation to the consumer before it is ordered or selected.
These rules apply to a range of foods sold in packets
A range of catering related businesses need to comply with rules that are specific to their service. For instance;
- Market stalls selling food that is prepared by the same team of staff at a distant site still have to comply with this labelling as this food fulfills the PrePacked for Direct Sale category
- Schools and universities need to ensure that food offered on their premises fulfills the same labelling law
Foods without packaging cannot be labelled in this way
Non-prepacked (loose) food does not require an attached label, however the availability of food allergen information should be offered using a menu, chalkboard or other notice. Clearly in a place of active food assembly, it remains important to discuss allergen ingredients with staff serving you or your family for those affected by food allergy.
Bakeries do not have to label foods which are not packaged. For these foods, the allergen information will be available via notices, menu or serving staff;
- unpackaged pasties, cakes, and croissants behind a glass display counter or in a hot hold cupboard
- slices of cake packed at the consumer’s request
- sandwiches and bacon rolls made to order
Where there is any doubt; ASK!
Managing the full range of potential dietary food allergen ingestion situations continues to be a challenging pragmatic trade-off. Many people with food allergies have been caught unawares of particular situations, because labelling is sometimes limited by necessity.
If you do not feel comfortable, ensure you ask a senior available servicing staff member before taking a decision. Still use your own common sense when listening to their advice, and if it appears less than appropriate for the situation, it may be safest to plan an alternative route for finding safer food.