Is your business ready for the food labelling requirements of Natasha’s Law? by Becky Viccars
There has been a lot of talk around the legal requirements of Natasha’s Law, but regardless of your size of business, if you prepare pre-packed food for sale on your premises, your food labelling solution needs to be compliant by 1st October 2021. Currently those foods, known as “pre-packed directly for sale,” are not required to have product labels which contain information on the full ingredients, or the allergens contained.
From 1st October 2021, in simple terms the new legislation specifies that you must include name of the food, a full list of ingredients and the allergens emphasised, which could be bold, italics or a different colour.1
With 1 in 4 people suffering from some form of allergy in the UK,2 this new legislation brings greater transparency to what people are buying and eating, laying down new standards for food companies, and highlighting the battle against the growing epidemic of allergies.3 Research has shown that 88% of the general public fully support Natasha's Law,2 making it an important priority for food retailers and customers in the UK.
But it can be confusing as to what constitutes “Pre-packaged food” - it could include sandwiches, salads, pasties, pies etc. Pre-packaged directly for sale, is any food item that is prepared and packaged in advance, for sale on that day, and with the new legislation it will need to be carefully and accurately labelled, in a clear, consistent and conspicuous way.
And what about the highlighting of allergens? Research from Mintel has found that almost half (48%) of Brits are unsure whether or not allergen labels are clear, and a further 15% have no confidence in them at all.2
These new labelling requirements, paying particular attention to 14 specified allergens, will provide essential information to help people with a food allergy or intolerance to make the right safe choices when purchasing pre-packaged foods, particularly in self-service order points or situations where there is little or no interaction with staff before making choices or purchases.
If you don’t currently have a labelling solution or use a manual process to label your products, it may seem daunting and potentially costly having to comply with these new legal requirements. But whatever your size of business, there is a low-cost off-the-shelf solution that is easy to implement and simple for staff to use.
Small, compact and robust desktop printers combined with Allergen Manager Software, will analyse your ingredient list, seek key allergen words and place formatting around these allergens so that they are printed to meet the legal specification. Whatever your current process, we can recommend and tailor the right solution to work for your business.
What if you choose to ignore the legislation? Failing to comply could lead to hefty fines or even prosecution. There is also the morale argument: you are disregarding the safety of your customers, the impact of which could be fatal!