Food businesses urged to heed ‘Natasha’s Law’ at catering exhibition

In a few weeks’ time, London will play host to Europe’s biggest catering exhibition, the Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo, which is expected to attract more than 15,000 visitors to the ExCeL convention centre on November 9-10.

And Allergen Checker will be there, not only demonstrating our unique food labelling system, but banging the drum for Natasha’s Law, which went live on October 1 and affects hundreds of thousands of businesses large and small across the UK. We also now have the accolade of being nominated for an Expo award in the ‘Product Innovation’ category – the winner of which will be announced at 2pm at the event on November 9 – so we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed!

Full labelling requirements

Under Natasha’s Law, all food outlets must provide full ingredients lists with clear allergen labelling on all food that is pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS)*. The new rules were introduced following the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a pre-packaged baguette which at the time did not require ingredients labelling. The new law creates more consistency in the labelling of pre-packed products and gives more protection for people with food allergies and intolerances. 

But while the intention is that millions of people with food allergies, intolerances and coeliac disease should be able to make safer choices about the food they buy, so far it seems that many business owners – for example, some who run cafes and sandwich shops – are not yet complying with the new law and may perhaps even be completely unaware of it.

Allergen Checker owner Mark, who has more than 30 years of experience in kitchen and restaurant management, said: “Food labelling has never been as important as it is now. I've seen first-hand how challenging it is to get the correct information to the customer.

“The new regulations have really tightened up the process to stop people slipping through the net, and turning a blind eye isn't an option – the consequences for the customer, and your business, are too great.”

Non-compliance with the new rules could result in a business facing serious financial penalties, and potentially criminal prosecution. Mark launched his unique food labelling service to help businesses of all shapes and sizes stay on the right side of the law in an easy-to-use, value-for-money way, while keeping allergy-prone customers safe.

He added: “The simplest way to ensure that you’re complying with Natasha’s Law is by having robust labelling information in place across all your products, then you can be sure that your clients have easy access to exactly what is in the food you’ve made and can make an informed choice as to whether it’s safe for them to eat.

“Small business owners who know about the changes might be worried that compliance means either time-consuming logging of all ingredients or expensive technological solutions really meant for large food businesses.

“The good news is the Allergen Checker system will make your food labelling processes more efficient, consistent, and accurate, so you can meet all your food labelling needs, from printed ingredient labels to menus, from less than £1 per day.”

Exciting innovations

The Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo will offer visitors an insight into the innovations and technologies that are changing the face of the industry. With free tickets for the show in 2021, guests will have exclusive access to the most impressive line-up the show has ever seen. With more than 1,000 exhibitors showcasing the products and services making waves in the sector, 500 seminars led by the industry's leading minds, an array of panel debates and spectacular networking opportunities, it’s an unmissable opportunity for restaurant and takeaway professionals looking to accelerate the growth of their business.

Mark said: “This is my first time showcasing Allergen Checker at the Expo, and I’m excited about not only meeting potential new clients but also finding out more about other innovations available to the restaurant and takeaway industry.

“I’ll be manning our stand and demonstrating the Allergen Checker system, and will be accompanied by nutritionist and food consultant Georgina Stewart, who’ll be on hand to answer any foodie questions visitors might have.”

Register for your FREE ticket now to the Restaurant & Takeaway Innovation Expo and be sure to visit Allergen Checker on stand Q42.