Food Standards Agency Allergen Labeling Act Comes Into Force

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04 Oct 2021 — The UK industry’s first food allergen labeling policy, Natasha’s Law, went into effect on Friday. This new regulation came into play to help people with food allergies, intolerances and celiac disease make safer choices when shopping for food.

The new policy, which was introduced after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death as a direct result of consuming a prepackaged baguette that did not contain an ingredient label, requires companies to label all prepackaged foods for sale. direct with a complete list of Ingredients.

The list includes the 14 main allergens identified by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Last month, a poll found that as the Oct. 1 deadline approached, 81% of businesses felt unprepared, while 41% “ignored” it.

Changes to prepackaged foods
Products that will now need to be labeled include prepackaged sandwiches, fast food already packed before a customer places their order, and supermarket items such as cheeses and deli counter meat that are already packed and ready to go. served.

“This is a big step forward in helping improve the quality of life for approximately two million people with food allergies in this country,” said Emily Miles, FSA Executive Director.

“If these changes reduce the number of hospital admissions caused by food allergies, which has tripled in the past 20 years, and prevent more tragic deaths like Natasha’s, it can only be one thing. positive. “

Allergen-free food products
In recent years, companies such as Paradise Fruit Solutions and Butter Buds have led the charge with allergy-free innovations.

Paradise Fruit Solutions by Jahncke has launched a line of allergen-free nut flavored granules that deliver nutty taste and aroma, which are all natural. Butter Buds has developed an oil-based solution that allows manufacturers to replace bulk butter in many formulations, such as baked goods.

In Brazil, researchers at the Federal University of São Paul have developed a recipe combining chickpea flour and psyllium, a soluble fiber of plant origin. A nutritionist from the university is continuing a line of study that focuses on improving gluten-free products in the country for consumers with allergies to wheat.

Guidance for companies
Local authorities are advised to take a proportionate and risk-based approach to violations of the law, unless immediate action is required.

The FSA advises dealing with minor errors with additional guidance and support regarding changes, especially during the first few months.

The FSA has been helping companies prepare for changes for over a year, with tools to help them understand which products are covered by the new rules, labeling tips and industry-specific advice available on their PPDS Hub in line.

The past 18 months have been tough for food companies, and I am grateful for the effort so many people have put in to prepare for the changes, ”said Miles.

Activate label protection
Natasha’s parents, Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, described the introduction of Natasha’s law as a bittersweet moment for them.

“We are delighted that people with food allergies now have excellent protection thanks to improved labeling and we know deep down that Natasha would be very proud of a new law in her name. “

“However, the new law also reminds us that Natasha’s death was completely preventable. Natasha’s Law is about saving lives and marks an important milestone in our campaign to support people with food allergies in this country, ”they say.

According to the Ednan-Laperouse, the new law will give people with food allergies confidence when they buy prepackaged food for direct sale, such as sandwiches and salads.

“Everyone should be able to consume food safely,” they say.

Publicize allergies
The FSA also encourages consumers to make their allergies known to food industry personnel.

This message was featured prominently in their #SpeakUpForAllergies campaign earlier this year, which encouraged young people to talk about their allergies when ordering food.

“Allergen transparency is a key issue for our customers and the AOH sector continues to support the government’s agenda to improve food safety and the clarity of available information,” said Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality.

By Inga de Jong

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