Environmental Secretary Michael Gove has announced a new law requiring food businesses to include full ingredients labelling on pre-packaged foods to protect the two million food allergy sufferers in the UK.
The new legislation will be introduced by the end of the summer and will come into effect by summer 2021. It is known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, after teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died after having an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette. Current laws state that food prepared on the premises, such as Pret a Manger’s sandwiches, is not required to display allergy information.
‘Natasha’s Law’ comes after a consultation in January proposed four options: full ingredient list labelling, allergen-only labelling, ‘ask the staff’ labels on products and promoting best practice to businesses.
Natasha’s parents Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State has announced the government’s decision to go ahead with full allergen and ingredient labelling. While Natasha’s Law comes too late to save our beloved daughter, we believe that helping save other allergy sufferers and their families from the enduing agony that we will always bear is a fitting legacy for her life.”
Gove said: “Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse have been an inspiration in their drive to protect food allergy sufferers and deliver Natasha’s Law.
“These changes will make food labels clear and consistent and give the country’s two million food allergy sufferers confidence in making safe food choices.”
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Food Standards Agency (FSA) chair Heather Hancock said: “We want the UK to become the best place in the world for people living with food hypersensitivities. The impact of food allergy and intolerance on quality of life can be as great as or even greater than almost all other foodborne diseases. Whilst it’s impossible to eliminate the risks entirely, we believe this change will mean better protection for allergic consumers.”
Allergy UK CEO Carla Jones said: “This move towards full ingredient labelling for pre-packed direct sale food will improve the lives of the allergic customer and it is warmly welcomed here at Allergy UK.”
In May this year the FSA called for food outlets to increase allergen information on pre-packed foods for direct sale to consumers in the UK.