Food Allergens – Changes to UK Legislation on Food Labels

By October 2021, certain foods in the UK will be required to have potentially lifesaving allergen information provided on the label.

UK law on allergen labelling and disclosure currently applies to pre-packed and catered food. refers to food packed for supply to retailers or mass caterers as well as hospitality and catering businesses. The law was not applicable to food pre-packed for direct sale on the premises (PPDS). This means that businesses preparing packaged food items for sale on site do not have to label their products or provide details of ingredients. Lack of adequate allergen labelling has led to customers unknowingly ingesting allergens and becoming sick or dying.

Natasha’s Law

Natasha's Law will strengthen the allergy labelling regulations by requiring foods that are prepared and packaged on the site in which they are sold to label products with the full list of ingredients and allergens. The new law will include all packaged food products assembled by staff earlier in the day and placed on a shelf for purchase.

Natasha's Law will be effective starting October 2021. The new rules will be regulated by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and apply to all food business operators, including small businesses. Failure to comply with the new regulations will attract substantial financial penalties and such a breach may carry a criminal offence.

Managing Allergen Risks

Detecting allergens in food products ensures the safety and quality of food products and verifies food properties for labelling. Doing so will help food producers avoid product recalls and ultimately safeguards brand image.

The most common allergens our experts test for, even at very low levels, include:

 

  • Cereals containing gluten
  • Crustaceans like prawns or crab
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Soybeans
  • Peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites

 

Partnering with Intertek

Intertek can provide expert advice on risk assessments, allergens management and product labelling to ensure end-to-end business protection. Intertek’s laboratories test for the majority of allergenic ingredients as listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. Our blend of analytical and advisory services aids our customers to achieve compliance and improve safety, quality and efficiency. We have the flexibility and the experience to develop strong partnership relationships with our customers.

 
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