UK to introduce ‘Natasha’s Law’ for allergen labelling

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A new law will require food businesses to include full ingredients labelling on pre-packaged foods, Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced, in a drive to protect the country’s two million food allergy sufferers.

Following the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette, the Environment Secretary confirmed legislation will be brought forward by the end of summer to strengthen allergen labelling rules.

Under current laws, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information in writing, meaning allergy sufferers sometimes lack confidence when buying food out.

The new legislation, known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, will tighten the rules by requiring foods that are pre-packed directly for sale to carry a full list of ingredients – giving allergy sufferers greater trust in the food they buy.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse have been an inspiration in their drive to protect food allergy sufferers and deliver Natasha’s Law.

“These changes will make food labels clear and consistent and give the country’s two million food allergy sufferers confidence in making safe food choices.”

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s parents, Tanya and Nadim said: “We are absolutely delighted that the government has decided to go ahead with full allergen and ingredient labelling. While Natasha’s Law comes too late to save our beloved daughter, we believe that helping save other allergy sufferers and their families from the enduring agony that we will always bear is a fitting legacy for her life.”

The government will introduce legislation by the end of summer mandating full ingredients labelling for foods prepacked for direct sale, and the new laws will come into force by summer 2021 – giving businesses time to adapt to the change.

Chair of the Food Standards Agency Heather Hancock said: “We want the UK to become the best place in the world for people living with food hypersensitivities.

“The impact of food allergy and intolerance on quality of life can be as great or even greater than almost all other foodborne diseases. Whilst it’s impossible to eliminate the risks entirely, we believe this change will mean better protection for allergic consumers.”

The reforms cover labelling requirements for foods that are prepared and packed on the same premises from which they are sold – such as a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff earlier in the day and placed on a shelf for purchase.

Currently, these foods are not required to carry labels, and if asked by a consumer allergen information must be given in person by the food business.

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