Natasha’s Law – is your business ready?

It’s estimated that over two million people in the UK are living with a diagnosed food allergy. The introduction of Natasha’s Law will protect those with allergies and give them greater confidence in the food and beverages they buy from hospitality and foodservice providers.

Natasha’s Law explained

From 1 October 2021, the requirements for prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food labelling will change in Wales, England, and Northern Ireland. The new labelling will help protect consumers by providing potentially life-saving allergen information on the packaging.

PPDS food will be required to display a label with:

  • The name of the food
  • A full ingredient list
  • Declaration of any of the 14 allergens and emphasised if present:
    • Allergens include milk, fish, tree nuts, crustaceans, cereals containing gluten, eggs, peanuts, celery, soybean, lupin, molluscs, mustard, sesame, sulphur dioxide and sulphites.

Will it affect your business?

Natasha's Law will apply to any food business operator, regardless of its size, meaning that both national chains and small businesses alike will have the same requirements to display the full ingredients on their food packaging.

So, if your business makes food that is pre-packed for direct sale, then you need to ensure that you are compliant with Natasha’s Law by October 2021.  

What is PPDS food?

Prepacked for direct sale or PPDS is any food that has been made, packaged and sold directly to consumers. This can include salads and sandwiches that consumers select themselves and pre-wrapped foods kept behind a counter.

For a food to be classed as PPDS, it must be:

  • Packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to consumers
  • In the packaging before it is ordered or selected by the consumer

Here are some examples of PPDS food:

  • Sandwiches and bakery products which are packed on site before a consumer selects and orders them
  • Pizza, rotisseries chicken and pasta pots, pre-packaged on site ready for sale

Still confused? To make things easier, the Food Standards Agency has created a food labelling tool to help you identify if your food is classed as PPDS, click here to find out more. 

How to prepare for Natasha’s Law

Here are some of our top tips to prepare for October:

  • Staff training
    Provide your staff with up-to-date allergen awareness training. Make sure that they are all aware of the steps that your business has taken to ensure the safety to your consumers.
  • Invest in labelling
    Clearly displaying allergens on all PPDS food will be key. Especially for new or returning customers, a simple, clear and easy to read label layout will be key. Refer to FSA guidance for full detail, but every PPDS must be labelled with the name of the food and a full ingredients list with any of the 14 allergens emphasised if present.
  • Plan your menus
    Make sure that your suppliers are reliable and will notify you of any product, ingredient or allergen changes. Make sure you are updating the allergen information every time the menu or your products change.

For further guidance on how to prepare your business, head to the Food Standards Agency website here.

How can Foodbuy help?

The most effective way to ensure reliable and accurate nutritional and allergen information is the use of a system. With Epsys, our eProcurement and procure-to-pay system, you can access up-to-date nutritional and allergen data on food ingredients. This can help your business to save time and comply with the new legislation secure in the knowledge that the allergen information is correct and always readily available.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business with Epsys, get in touch with us here.