More changes to food testing and labelling?

There are many stories breaking the news calling for stricter changes on food testing and labelling. We will often hear of the most tragic reactions, however they are just the tip of the iceberg.

Natasha’s law sought to change the regulations around food labelling on food that was prepared on site for people to take away. Celia Marsh, died after consuming a flatbread which was vegan and so should have been dairy free. The “dairy-free coconut yoghurt alternative” had been contaminated at the point of manufacture.

Mrs Marsh’s daughter spoke to the Guardian,  “On that terrible day she trusted the labelling in the Pret a Manger store. But the vegan wrap had been contaminated. The contents were poisonous to her.”

Many family members believe there is a lack of suitable testing in the food supply industry, as many rules apply to the end product and not where the foods start their journey. Mr Marsh has requested for more strict testing at every stage of the food production journey to help combat these tragedies from repeating in the future.

One small regulation seems to be a drop in the pond when looking at the challenges that surround the food industry. There are cries from the public for an inquest to be held at the Food Standards Agency to test products that are labelled as dairy free. Testing products for contamination should be done regularly.

Food labelling is only one rung in a very long ladder to ensure the safety of the foods we consume. Food manufactures, restaurants, and other hospitality industry workers need to combat this together and in full force.

Allergic reactions the tragic truth

Natasha bought a sandwich which was freshly prepared on site at an airport. After inspecting the package, it seemed safe for consumption. Later on the flight she had a severe allergic reaction, the sandwich had in fact contained sesame seeds. Natasha was allergic. After two doses from her epi-pen, it wasn’t enough. Natasha died.

Celia Marsh, a mother of five, ordered a vegan rainbow flatbread. As the item was vegan no one questioned whether dairy would be part of the ingredients used to make up the item. Celia died after consuming the flatbread. It had been contaminated during the manufacturing process at the Tate & Lyle’s factory in Wales.

Owen Carey went to a restaurant and enquired about an item on the menu. After being reassured by staff at the restaurant the chicken was plain grilled, Owen ordered his meal. Even after one bite, Owen knew something was wrong. Forty-five minutes later, Owen died from anaphylaxis shock.

These are just a few of the tragic stories we hear about. Many others suffer allergic reactions due to the lack of regulations that surround the food industry. Natasha’s law was the first step and many miles the industry must face.

One year on from Natasha’s law

Natasha’s law began the huge step towards regulations around the allergen and food labelling industry. Before her tragic death, it was not necessary for any food service provider to label ingredients and allergens on the packaging on items which had been prepared on site. Due to her untimely death, Natash’s parents sought to change this rule. Natasha’s law came into effect on October 1st 2021, and has since saved many lives.

Changes in regulation are possible and should be done to ensure the safety of all foods in which we consume. Even for those with allergies. The Food Standards Agency shouldn’t wait for the next tragic death to ensure the food safety of allergen sufferers.

Read our full blog on Natasha’s law here.

Owen’s law - the future of food labelling

Owen’s Law will only seek to further strengthen the health and safety rules around food preparation and labelling. Essentially, from prep work to cooking, each individual ingredient would be named on each food which is contained in a meal. This will help provide clarity and transparency on all menus. Owen’s law would also seek to ensure full training given to employees in the food industry to help create a further check in place.

Here at Allergen Checker, we believe that all hospitality industries should be safe for everyone to enjoy. Many of these tragedies can be avoided with clear and concise information which is easy to access.

Challenges the food industry face when looking at allergens

There are many challenges the food industry will face when looking at allergens. These challenges are ones those with allergies suffer with on a daily basis. Calling for more check and balances to ensure foods have not been contaminated with allergens should be standard practice.

The food industry should also work to ensure staff are trained on all allergens and the potential cross contamination that can occur when serving food. Making the hospitality industry safe for everyone will provide equal opportunities as well as boost the economy as those who suffer with allergies will feel secure enough to eat out.

If you want to show your support for Owen’s law visit the website here.

If you work in the hospitality industry and would like to see how you can improve your allergen process, contact us now.