Allergen rules are changing on 1st October 2021 – is your business ready?
The Food Information Regulations were updated in 2019 with specific rules about Pre-Packed for Direct Sale [PPDS] food. This followed the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died from eating a baguette with sesame seeds that she was allergic too.
At the time allergens were not identified on a label on the food. Natasha’s parents have campaigned tirelessly since her death to get the law changed, and this update has aptly been named ‘Natasha’s Law’.
What Allergen information is required for different categories of food
Food businesses must provide accurate and up to date information on the 14 identified allergens, on all the food they serve. There are now 3 categories:
- Pre-packed food is packaged before it goes on sale. The label must include shelf life information, a full ingredients list with allergens emphasized, nutritional information etc. For full details see the technical guidance
- Pre-packed for direct sale food [PPDS] is made onsite and packaged before being offered for sale on the same premises. The label must include the name of the food, and a full ingredients list with allergens emphasized.
- Non pre-packed food is not packaged e.g. meals sold in cafes/restaurants. The allergen information does not need to be on a label but must be easily accessible to the customer.
How do I get ready for Natasha’s Law?
Be prepared by following my top ten tips :
1. Know what Pre-Packed for Direct Sale [PPDS] food is:
Food that is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to customers and is in this packaging BEFORE it is ordered or selected [this includes temporary units such as mobiles].
This does not include food sold by distance selling by phone or online.
Use the Food Labelling decision tool to decide if the food you are producing is PPDS.
2. Know what needs to be on the label, you must include:
- the name of the food
- A full ingredients list starting with the word ‘ingredients’ and in descending order of weight
- with allergens emphasized in bold, underlined or in a different colour.
You do not need to include any other information but should include precautionary allergen information or ‘may contains’ from pre-packed food
3. Know what the label should look like:
- mandatory font size see[technical guidance]
- legible and easy to read
- Print labels if possible [can be handwritten – CAUTION]
4. Consider using specific printing software for PPDS labels
Hot/oven cooked or chilled/frozen will require special labels.
5. Review your suppliers
- Check suppliers pass on accurate and up to date allergen information on all their products to you
- Check you have a policy in place for how they let you know about substitutions or changes
6. Staff training
- make sure ALL your staff have allergen awareness/management training relevant to their jobs and your business operation. Make sure it includes labelling of PPDS food, see Allergen training courses
- Or access free online training on the Food Standards Agency website, allergy awareness training
7. Use standard recipes
- Use standards recipes and make sure your staff follow them
- Do not allow staff to change ingredients in a dish without management approval and changing the allergen information
8. Download the technical guidance to help you
There is specific rules abut naming the food and any exemptions which may apply
9. Do a trial run on labelling PPDS food before 1st October 2021!
10. Update your Food Safety Management System
With information about how you label PPDS food and procedures for staff to follow.
Webinar ‘Find out about allergen labelling for Natasha’s Law and more…’
If you would like more advice how to comply with Natasha’s law, and on how to manage allergens in your business grab seat on my virtual webinar [includes Q&A session]:
On: 5th August 2021 from 10am -11am.
Price: £30 per person.
Early Bird Discount: Book by 29th July 2021 and quote code ‘FSL10’ to save 10% [£27]
Contact me to make a booking and pay online by PayPal or invoice.