Allergen labelling – are you ready?

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On 1 October 2021, the law on allergen labelling for pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) foods changed. PPDS foods can include food that consumers select themselves, for example from a display unit, as well as products kept behind a counter, or some food sold at mobile or temporary outlets. Any food business selling PPDS foods will have to include the name of the food and a list of ingredients directly on the packaging or label. If the food contains any of the 14 allergens, they must be emphasised in bold, upper case, contrasting colours or underlined.

This change brought the provision of allergen information on PPDS foods in line with labelling for pre-packed food, reducing consumer confusion. Also known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, the changes were introduced following the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse from an allergic reaction caused by a packaged baguette which, at the time, did not require allergen labelling.

Failure to comply with the new allergen labelling rules is a criminal offence and may result in a criminal prosecution being brought against the food business. A person convicted of an offence under the legislation will be liable to an unlimited fine, the amount of which will be decided by magistrates on a case by case basis.

To help support food businesses, the Food Standards Agency has launched a PPDS Hub featuring useful information including new labelling guidance for PPDS foods and guides that will be helpful to specific sectors including bakery, butchers, fast food and takeaways, mobile sellers, restaurants, cafes and pubs, event caterers and schools. The guides each give practical information on PPDS and how these changes could impact a food business.

WM comment

Preparations for these new rules should be well advanced at this stage but if you need any help in understanding what the legislation means for you please give your usual contact within the Food and Drink team a call.