Natasha's Law has caught eight out of ten food business owners off guard

Eight out of ten food industry owners feel they are unprepared for new food safety regulation, Natasha’s Law, which will take effect on October 1 and will force food firms in the UK to give allergy information on pre-packaged meals.    

The bill was introduced in response to the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a 15-year-old girl who died as a result of an allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger sandwich. She became unwell after eating the sandwich at Heathrow and passed out on a trip to Nice on July 17, 2016. Following, her parents pushed for a reform in the legislation regarding food labeling, and the government announced in June 2019 that Natasha's Law will go into effect in October 2021.    

The legislation will force food firms in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to publish complete ingredient lists and allergy information on items sold in pre-packaged form. However, one month before the law's implementation on October 1, research commissioned by global standards organization GS1 UK discovered that 40% of firms had never heard of Natasha's Law. Five hundred food sector employers and workers were polled in the study.    

“Natasha’s Law represents a hugely positive, yet complex transformation for the food sector, one fraught with risk. It is worrying that the awareness of the changes is inconsistent, but not particularly surprising after everything the sector has had thrown at it over the last 18 months. It’s therefore fantastic to see a data solution that will help companies, particularly smaller companies, make the required changes while reducing both bureaucracy and the opportunities for error”, said Henry Dimbleby MBE, author of the National Food Strategy.