Half of businesses tested in breach of Natasha's Law
The government agency conducted 100 establishments encompassing sandwich shops, delis, and bakeries across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay. Results unveiled that 56 of these businesses were found to be in breach of regulations requiring full ingredient and allergen labelling on all food made on premises and pre-packed for direct sale.
Disturbingly, the assessments disclosed that 34 premises had sold items containing undisclosed allergens, often due to insufficient or absent labelling.
Among the failed samples with undeclared allergens, milk was the most commonly identified allergen, constituting 44% of the problematic samples.
The legislative framework referred to as Natasha's Law, took effect in October 2021, driven by the unfortunate passing of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse due to anaphylaxis triggered by a baguette containing sesame seeds, purchased from a Pret a Manger branch.
Fakir Osman, Head of the Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, said: "If you are a business that sells food it is vital that you have a thorough understanding of the changes in legislation and how it impacts on your business.
"These changes to the law are recent and currently those businesses whose labelling has been found to be in breach of the new law will receive advice from Trading Standards Officers on how to ensure their products are compliant.
"I advise that businesses read our guidance as the welfare of your customers and your business could depend on it."
This disconcerting discovery has prompted a commitment to further comprehensive sampling later this year.
Under Natasha's Law, you must list all the ingredients on individual packaging of products that are considered pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS). Products made at a customer's request do not need to carry an allergen label, but this information must be available to customers if they ask for it. If you sell PPDS food, then you must ensure that you have implemented the new regulations.
Source: The Caterer.com