It’s official: Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a plan to implement “Natasha’s Law.” The law will offer additional protections to UK food allergy sufferers. If your business sells food products within the UK, these new regulations could affect your business and your labelling procedures. So, here’s a quick primer on the law and what companies need to do to ensure compliance.
What is Natasha’s Law?
In 2016, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse purchased an artichoke, olive, and tapenade baguette from an airport Pret A Manger sandwich shop to eat on her flight to Nice for a much-anticipated vacation.
That vacation never happened. The sandwich contained sesame, which she was allergic to. However, it wasn’t listed on the label. She went into anaphylactic shock in midair and died in a French hospital.
Sesame is a reasonably common allergen, so why wasn’t it listed? The answer is simple: it wasn’t required to be since the sandwich was made fresh in the store.
According to the BBC, “The coroner looking into her death said Natasha had been “reassured” by the lack of specific allergen information on the packaging.”
After their daughter’s death, Natasha’s parents began petitioning for changes to the current labelling system. In a public comment on the new law, they said, “helping save other allergy sufferers and their families from the enduring agony that we will always bear is a fitting legacy for her life”.
Other food allergy advocates are also thrilled with the new regulations. For example, Allergy UK commented: “This move towards full ingredient labelling for pre-packed direct-sale food will improve the lives of the allergic customer, and it is warmly welcomed here at Allergy UK.”
How “Natasha’s Law” Will Affect UK Food Packaging and Labelling
Food allergy suffers, and the organisations that represent them are happy. Businesses, however, naturally have some concerns about compliance. While new regulations might seem burdensome, protecting customers is paramount. Better labelling also protects companies from lawsuits, so it’s a win-win in the long term. Read more