Helping businesses stay compliant with Natasha’s Law

From autumn 2021, new legislation will come into force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, affecting businesses and traders who produce and package food for sale. 

“Natasha’s Law” is named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who tragically died in 2016 following a fatal allergic reaction to a shop-bought sandwich that had been prepared and packaged on-site, but did not include sesame seeds on its ingredients label – a product to which she knew she had a severe allergy. 

Under current rules, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold does not have to display full allergen information in writing. The new requirements apply to items called ‘prepacked for direct sale’ (PPDS), which is food that is packaged on-site at the same premises where a customer then selects or orders it. This means that once Natasha’s Law comes into effect in October 2021, each PPDS food item will need a label containing a full ingredients list.  

Non-compliance with the new rules could result in a business facing serious financial penalties, and potentially criminal prosecution.

Protecting lives

Chef Mark Morgan-Huntley, owner of Allergen Checker, said: “For some people who have food allergies, eating the wrong thing can mean life or death. It is estimated that two million people are living with a food allergy in the UK, and around 600,000 people suffer from coeliac disease. 

“Natasha’s family have campaigned tirelessly to bring about these regulatory changes and I agree that we should do as much as we can to ensure our products won’t harm anyone. Natasha’s Law will not only prevent severe reactions and deaths, it will also provide reassurance to people who have food allergies. 

“This means staff may require training on ingredients and labelling, and there is an inevitable expense associated with this, from the time it takes to the printing of labels and menus. But the ultimate purpose is to protect lives, and raise awareness of food allergen information.”

Mark added: “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. Nobody wants to make anybody ill by not providing them with the right details and turning a blind eye isn’t an option – the consequences for the customer, and your business, are too great.”

Virtual store cupboard

 “As someone who has worked in catering for many years, I wanted to find a solution to this challenge for businesses in the industry,” Mark explained. “We have designed Allergen Checker to help conscientious caterers protect their customers.”

Allergen Checker allows users to create their own virtual store cupboard, input ingredients, identify allergens and print menus as well as customised full ingredient labels to attach to items, so customers know exactly what’s in their food.

The subscription-based service costs less than £1 per day for unlimited ingredients labelling. Allergen Checker is also donating £10 per subscription to The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, which funds vital research into food allergies.

The 14 regulated allergens:

  • Celery

  • Cereals containing gluten (oats and barley)

  • Crustaceans (crabs, lobster, prawns)

  • Eggs

  • Fish

  • Milk

  • Lupin

  • Molluscs (oysters and mussels)

  • Mustard

  • Sesame

  • Peanuts

  • Soybeans

  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (for concentrations above ten parts per million)

  • Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamias, and pistachios)

UK Food Standard Agency guidance on Natasha’s Law: