Posted on Monday 25th October 2021
Food businesses in Staffordshire are being reminded about new food labelling laws which came into force this month.
Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service is working with businesses and retailers to ensure they are aware and complying with the new rules designed to help protect consumers.
The changes now mean that people with allergies will be able to make safer choices about the food they buy.
The new rules, also known as Natasha’s Law, requires businesses to label all food known as pre-packed for direct sale.
The labelling will require the name of the food and a full list of ingredients, with any of the 14 major allergens emphasised in the list.
The allergen law was 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.
Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said:
“This is an important law that will hopefully provide another level of protection for those people with severe food allergies.
“Our trading standards officers are working closely with food businesses in these early stages to ensure they fully understand the allergen labelling changes and are compliant in delivering them.
“Sadly we’ve had several incidents in Staffordshire where people have ended up in hospital as a result of being served food that has given them a severe reaction.
"Our job is to help keep people safe and I would urge all food retailers to take all the necessary steps to ensure their customers are made fully aware of the ingredients within the food products they offer.”
The type of food which will now need full labelling includes ‘grab and go’ foods that are prepacked such as sandwiches, salads and fast food.
The food must have been packaged on the same site it is sold before a customer selects or orders it.
Emily Miles, Chief Executive at the Food Standards Agency added:
“This new allergen law is a huge step in helping to improve the quality of life for around 2 million people living with food allergies in the UK.
“If these changes drive down the number of hospital admissions caused by food allergies, which has tripled over the last thirty years, and prevent further tragic deaths such as Natasha’s, that can only be a positive thing.
"I understand how difficult the past 18 months have been for food businesses, and I am grateful for the effort that so many have made to prepare for the changes.”
The FSA is also encouraging consumers to make their allergies known to food business staff.
This message was highlighted in their #SpeakUpForAllergies campaign earlier this year which encouraged young people to always speak about their allergies when ordering food.
More details and a list of top tips for safely buying takeaway food is available on the FSA website.