What is Natasha’s Law and when do the new food safety rules come into effect?

By Talya Honebeek

Following a campaign for better food safety legislation, a new law giving greater protection to food allergy sufferers is about to come into force in the UK .

Natasha’s Law aims to increase transparency within the food industry in order to better protect both people and businesses.

However, with the introduction of Natasha’s Law just around the corner, research commissioned by GS1 UK has found that eight in ten food business owners feel unprepared for the new food regulations.

What’s more, four in ten across the food industry — including food manufacturers, wholesalers and grab-and-go retailers — admitted they have never even heard of the new law..

So what is Natasha’s Law and why was it created? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Natasha’s Law?

As announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2019, Natasha’s Law will require all food businesses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to include labels featuring a full list of ingredients on all pre-packaged food.

Currently, pre-packaged food prepared on the same premises in which it is sold is not required by law to include allergen information on the packaging.

However, under the new rules, any pre-packaged food must have a label clearly displaying both the name of the food and a full list of ingredients with the allergenic ingredients emphasised.

Why was Natasha’s Law created?

The new policy has been named Natasha’s Law in memory of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse , a teenager who died following an allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger sandwich in July 2016.

The 15-year-old suffered a severe allergic reaction after unknowingly eating sesame that was contained in an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette from a Pret A Manger outlet at Heathrow Airport.

Natasha died of anaphylaxis — a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger such as an allergy — after collapsing during her flight to Nice.

Her experience prompted her family to embark upon a long campaign to change the law surrounding food labelling, with the new policy promising to better protect millions of food allergy sufferers.

“What caught us out and the reason our 15-year-old daughter Natasha died was because of partial labelling,” Natasha’s mother, Tanya, told ITV News.

“She read the label that was on the baguette, she trusted what she read but unfortunately sesame seeds had been baked into the dough of the bread. They weren’t visible to the naked eye and that killed her.

“It was really something that was immediately recognised as being a loophole in the law and it needed correcting.”

When does Natasha’s Law come into effect?

Natasha’s Law will come into force on October 1, 2021.

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