Natasha’s Law: Who must comply with new food labelling requirements?

Food businesses may be required to comply with new labelling requirements as a result of ‘Natasha’s Law’. Officially named the UK Food Information Amendment, Natasha’s Law came into force on 1st October 2021 and requires certain food businesses to provide clear details about ingredients and allergens.

In this article, we look at which businesses will be affected by Natasha’s Law, and how to understand whether your business must comply with the labelling requirements.

What is Natasha’s Law?

Natasha’s Law was introduced following action from a lobbying group led by the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a teenager who passed away following an allergic reaction after eating a prepackaged meal with an undeclared ingredient.

Under the new law, all businesses that provide Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) food must meet specific labelling requirements. The food must be labelled with a complete ingredients list and any allergenic ingredients must be emphasised, for example in a bold or coloured font, and precautionary text such as ‘may contain’.

Which businesses must comply with Natasha’s law?

Natasha’s Law applies to all businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that sell PPDS food. PPDS is food that has been prepared and packed on the same premises from which it is sold.

The laws, therefore, do not apply to food that is made to order, or food which is pre-prepared but can be altered. There is no specific guidance for exactly which types of foods are covered, but the legislation provides general guidance.

Do I need to comply with Natasha’s Law?

It is important that businesses consider whether they must comply with Natasha’s Law on a case-by-case basis. Food items that could fall under the scope of the legislation include the following:

  • Food items that are available to consumers in wholly or partially enclosed packaging, meaning it is not possible to alter the food item without opening or changing the packaging.
  • Packaged food products that are ready to go before the customer orders it.
  • Any food which is packaged and later sold in the same place. It is important to note this includes items which are prepared and packaged by a business then sold from a temporary site, such as a food van.

This list is not exhaustive so, if you are in doubt, we would always recommend complying with the allergen requirements. If you fail to comply, you could face serious penalties but more importantly, proper adherence to the rules could save a person’s life.

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