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New law about allergens and food labelling

On 1st October 2021, the Food Information (Amendment)(England) Regulations 2019 No 1218 (commonly known as “Natasha’s Law”) came into force.

What does this mean? 

The new law requires that all food businesses that sell food which they pre-pack for direct sale (PPDS) – (which includes food packed on the same site from where they are sold), must be labelled with a full list of ingredients. 

The list should clearly show if any of the 14 major allergens are in the food. 

Why was this law introduced? 

The law has been introduced following the death in 2016 of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a pre-packaged baguette that had sesame seed in it which she was allergic to. At that time food did not require ingredients to be put on the label.

What needs to be labelled? 

Products that need to be labelled include: 

  • pre-wrapped sandwiches.
  • fast food that is already in packaging before a customer places their order
  • supermarket items such as cheeses and meat from the deli counter that are already wrapped and ready to be served.

What is (PPDS food)? 

PPDS food is food that is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to customers. It is a single item, that is already in its packaging and ready for the customer to order.

It can include the following foods: 

  • Sandwiches and bakery products which are packed on site before a customer selects or orders them
  • Fast food packed before it is ordered, such as a burger under a hot lamp where the food cannot be touched without opening the packaging it is in
  • Products which are pre-packaged on site ready for sale, such as pizzas, rotisserie chicken, salads, and pasta pots
  • Burgers and sausages pre-packed by the butcher on the premises ready for sale to customers
  • Samples of cookies given to customers for free which were packed on site
  • Foods packaged and then sold somewhere else by the same operator at a market stall or mobile site
  • PPDS food provided in schools, care homes or hospitals and other similar settings will also require labelling

Where can I get more help?

The Food Standards Agency has made a short film and a toolkit to help businesses know what they need to do, and to help customers understand this law. 

There is also an allergens and ingredients food labelling decision tool which businesses can use to check if they do produce PDPS foods.

The FSA also have guidance on the labelling of pre-packaged food.

If you still need help, you can contact us

Who will be checking businesses are following this new law? 

Essex Trading Standards Officers and our own Environmental Health Officers will be checking what pre-packaged food is on sale and whether businesses are following the new law, when carrying out food hygiene or standards inspections in our district.