The legislation comes after the tragic death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died from an allergic reaction caused by an ingredient in a baguette bought at a food outlet at Heathrow Airport in 2016. At the inquest into Natasha’s death the Coroner stated that the current legislation was not adequate and requested a review.
Foods that will now need to be fully labelled will include fast food, such as sandwiches and wraps, that are already packaged for sale before a customer orders, and cheeses and meats from the deli counter at a supermarket that have already been wrapped. Foods pre-packaged elsewhere already require full ingredients labelling, with allergens emphasised in the list. This new law extends this requirement to foods packaged on the same site at which they are sold.
Allergy UK participated in a consultation led by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the FSA (Food Standards Agency), consistently championing for a ‘gold standard’ for full ingredient labelling, with clear allergen information. Following the consultation the FSA recommended the adoption of full ingredient labelling, with allergens emphasised, to government Ministers.
Carla Jones, CEO of Allergy UK said:
This is an important step forward in helping people with food allergies make safe food choices. In supporting the development of this new law, we were committed to getting the best possible option for providing clear information on ingredients and the 14 allergens as we believe that this is what our community needs. We hope that these changes will bring more reassurance for those those with food allergies who often live in fear of a reaction, particularly when they are eating out of home.
This has come about as a direct result of the death of a young person – a tragedy that we never want to see happen and I want to acknowledge Natasha’s parents and their commitment to bringing about this change.
Over the last year the FSA has been supporting businesses to prepare for this change with a dedicated PPDS hub on their website.
Allergy UK’s new website (www.allergyuk.org) has information and guidance for caterers, including details of the Allergy Aware Scheme which includes a self-assessment and independent site audit for catering outlets to support them to cater for people with food allergy safely in every aspect of their business.