Natasha’s Law: UKH Highlights Member Guidance Ahead of New Allergen Legislation Coming into Force

UKHospitality is urging its members and food businesses to ensure they are fully aware of and compliant with landmark legislation on allergen labelling for pre-packaged foods, which comes into force this week (Friday 1st October 2021).

From 1 October, ‘Natasha’s Law’ requires all food businesses to provide full ingredients labelling on food that has been pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS). The new legislation is designed to better protect those with allergies and give them greater confidence in the food they purchase out-of-home. Before 1 October, allergen information for some pre-packed products could be provided to customers by any means, including being informed verbally by staff.

UKHospitality has worked closely with members and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) over the past two years to shape this legislation and has obtained clarification on certain elements, including what types of packaged food falls in scope of the new law. Comprehensive guidance and FAQs are available on the UKHospitality website for members to access, and on the FSA site.

Key points of the new legislation include new allergen labelling requirements that apply to some pre-packed foods including:

  • Food which is packaged at the same site it is offered to consumers, and is in this packaging before it is ordered or selected.
  • Typical examples would include sandwiches packaged and sold from the same premises, or fast food wrapped or packaged before a customer selects or orders it
  • Made to order or unwrapped foods are not affected by this new law, although allergen information must still be available for these products

UKHospitality is continuing to work with the FSA in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to drive consistency post-implementation and ensure both businesses and enforcement bodies work to the same interpretations.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “We recognise transparency around allergens is a key issue for customers and we continue to support the Government’s agenda on improving food safety and clarity of information available. We have worked closely with members and in partnership with the FSA to ensure this new legislation is clear for food businesses and they know their responsibilities in order to comply.

“However, the fact remains is that this has been significant undertaking for some businesses, coming at a critical time during hospitality’s recovery phase. The vast majority of operators are in survival mode and will be for the foreseeable future. With the ongoing disruption to the supply chain and new rules on calorie labelling rules due to come into force in April 2022, there is a real risk that further legislation being introduced over the next few months puts the brakes on our recovery. We therefore urge the Government to consider delaying the implementation of upcoming calorie labelling legislation, to give businesses the required time to get back on their feet and prepare for future food labelling changes in a reasonable timeframe.”