Millions of allergy sufferers across the country will be protected by a new law laid in Parliament today which will require more foods to be labelled with allergen information.
The law, which comes into effect from October 2021, will require businesses to provide full ingredient and allergen labelling on foods which are pre-packed for direct sale.
The Food Standards Agency Chair, Heather Hancock said:
“This is an important and welcome step towards our ambition for the UK to become the best place in the world for people who have food allergies and intolerances.
“I encourage businesses large and small to work with the Food Standards Agency to get this right.
“Success will mean more choice and better protection for the millions of people – our families, friends, colleagues and neighbours across the UK – who have food allergies.”
The change in the law is the result of a UK-wide consultation which followed the tragic death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, as a result of an allergic reaction to a baguette she had eaten which did not display allergen information on the packaging.
Natasha’s parents Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse said:
“This is a hugely significant day for allergen sufferers in this country. The introduction of Natasha’s Law brings greater transparency about what people are buying and eating, lays down new standards for the food companies, and highlights the battle against the growing epidemic of allergies.
“Natasha was a spirited campaigner for justice and today she is smiling down on us knowing that this law well help ensure others do not suffer in the way our family does, and always will, following the loss of our beloved daughter and sister.
“We would like to thank ministers for their unflinching support in doing the right thing on behalf of all people with allergies.”
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Food Minister Zac Goldsmith said:
“This is a significant moment for the millions of allergy sufferers in England and a fitting tribute to Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse’s tireless campaigning.
“The introduction of this law will make it easier for allergy sufferers to make clear, safe choices when buying food.”
At present some foods which are made, packed and sold on the same premises are not required to show ingredient or allergy information on the product label.
A Statutory Instrument (SI) has been laid in Parliament today extending labelling requirements which will allow people with food allergies and intolerances to make safe food choices.
The changes will apply in England, with similar arrangements expected to follow in the devolved nations to provide a UK wide approach to protecting consumers.
The FSA is developing a working interpretation of the types of food to which this legislation applies. This will be published on 1 October which will give food businesses a two-year transition period to prepare for the new requirements.