The BDA today welcomes the news that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will introduce "Natasha's Law", which will require all food businesses producing pre-packaged foods (such as sandwiches or salads) to include full ingredients lists, including all potential allergens. The BDA was one of a number of organisations that pushed for stricter rules on allergen and ingredient labelling as part of a consultation held earlier this year.
The law is being named for Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a teenager who tragically died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette. It is hoped the new legislation will make it easier for those with food allergies to identify products that are safe for them to eat.
Current laws do not require food prepared "on the premises" to display allergen information in writing, with customers expected to ask staff, who may not have fully accurate information. Research by Allergy UK has shown that as a consequence, allergy sufferers sometimes lack confidence buying food out, and others knowingly take risks on foods they are not sure are safe.
The BDA continues to support the Food Standard Agency's #EasytoASK campaign, which encourages those with allergies to ask about allergens when eating out. It is still important that people with allergies have the confidence to ask about ingredients, as food consumed in cafes, restaurants and take-aways will not come with full ingredient lists.
The new legislation will be tabled by the end of the summer, with the expectation that companies will comply by 2021. The BDA looks forward to seeing the full detail of the proposed rules in due course.