The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 (known as “Natasha's Law”) came into effect from 1 October 2021 in England and Wales.
Natasha’s Law is named in memory of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died in July 2016 following an allergic reaction to a prepacked sandwich bought from Pret-A-Manger. This law makes provision to ensure all food businesses provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on foods that are pre-packed for sale on their premises. These types of packaged foods were not caught by the pre-existing legislation.
TMCP would like to bring Natasha’s Law to the attention of all Managing Trustees to help Managing Trustees establish whether this law applies to food produced by them e.g. a church run café and to signpost links to the wealth of guidance available on how to comply with the new requirements. The article also sets out some general points to consider to keep everyone safe, whether or not Natasha’s Law applies to activities run by your Managing Trustee body.
What does Natasha’s Law apply to? What is PPDS food?
Natasha’s Law applies to foods that have been prepacked for direct sale (“PPDS food”). PPDS food is packed on the same site as it is offered to consumers and before the customer orders or selects it e.g. a sandwich prepared and packaged in a church run café before being offered to visitors to that café or a mobile or temporary outlet such as a stall outside. However, food that is made to order and/or packaged/wrapped on request e.g. after it is chosen/selected by the consumer does not fall under the new legislation. It has been suggested that wrapping prepared food only after it has been selected by an individual would avoid the new labelling requirements. However, care still needs to be made to inform people about allergens. See below.
If prepacked food is either offered or sold by a different business/café etc. to the one which packaged it (at a different location), then this food already requires a full list of ingredients and any allergens labelling including nutritional information. If a Local Church run café buys in sandwiches or scones from a third-party producer then the allergen information should already be on the packaging.
Who does Natasha’s Law apply to?
Natasha’s Law is aimed at any food business that produces PPDS food. The extent to which this would apply to Local Church activities is not entirely clear. However, “food business” is defined in Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council and means: “any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of production, processing and distribution of food.” It is understood that this law would apply to charities, including Managing Trustee bodies who run cafes or regularly sell food prepared by them and packaged before the consumer orders or selects it.
In any event, Managing Trustees will want to look after people who suffer from food allergies and intolerances and keep them safe. With so many people in the UK having allergies it is vital anyone preparing and/or offering food understands what the 14 allergens that must be declared by current UK food laws are, and can let people know what is in the food on offer to them.
What food labelling is required under Natasha’s Law?
PPDS food must have a label showing the name of the food together with a full list of ingredients, ensuring any of the 14 allergens the law states must be declared are highlighted if present in the food.
What are the 14 allergens that must be declared?
The 14 Allergens
The Food Standard Agency 14 Allergens poster is a useful reference tool.
Which body will monitor and enforce this law?
Environmental Health Officers will include the new regulations as part of their inspection list and issue enforcement/change orders and escalate as required.
Where can I find more guidance on Natasha’s Law?
Managing Trustees can find helpful information from the following resources:
Guidance from the Government’s Food Standard Agency (FSA)
- Allergen Labelling Changes for PPDS Food - The FSA’s dedicated PPDS Hub featuring detailed information and resources on the changes brought in by Natasha’s Law including food allergy and intolerance training, detailed labelling guidance and a PPDS Decision Tool link to help identify whether you deal with PPDS food.
- FSA Training Resources - Allergy training resources and links to free training modules provided by the FSA.
- Food Allergy and Intolerance - FSA guidance on food allergies and intolerance.
- FSA Labelling Guidance - FSA’s in-depth PPDS labelling guidance for best practice.
- Allergen Checklist - Information and guidance on the practical steps that need to be taken including a useful checklist regarding food preparation and storage.
- FSA Guidance on providing food at charity events - This link may be of help to Managing Trustees when holding charity events and includes guidance on providing food in a church hall or other community setting for volunteers and charity groups. It also includes advice on registration, certificates and allergen information.
Non-FSA sources of guidance
- Frequently Asked Questions - Questions and answers from the UK Food Labelling Resource.
- Natasha’s Law – charities need to be aware of new laws around allergen labelling - Helpful guidance from Stone King.
- The Safer Food Group Allergens Poster - A link to a free allergens poster which may be useful.
If after reviewing the guidance on the FSA’s website, the Managing Trustees are still unsure whether Natasha’s Law applies to them, or would like any further help and guidance, the FSA recommends that you contact the Food Safety Team at your Local Authority who will be able to provide more specific advice on the new PPDS rules. Contact details for your Local Authority Food Safety Team can be found:
Do you need to register as a “food business”?
Please note that another consideration for Managing Trustees is that it may be necessary to register with your Local Authority as a food business. As a rule of thumb this applies where food is provided on a regular and organised basis. Further guidance to help you decide whether you require registration and guidance on food hygiene law, including practical examples of community and charity events selling or supplying food, can be found on the following link:
- When is registration as a food business required? - Guidance describing scenarios where individuals providing food may need to register as a food business.
What should the Managing Trustees Do?
Whether or not Natasha’s Law and the pre-existing allergen information requirements apply to activities carried out by Managing Trustees, it is strongly recommended that Managing Trustees consider the large number of people in the UK who are currently living with some form of diagnosed, or sometimes undiagnosed food allergy (estimated to be around 2 million) and what they can do to keep all members and visitors to their premises safe.
Therefore, even if Managing Trustees decide not to wrap foods due to the new labelling requirements, or are not otherwise covered by Natasha’s Law or other food labelling legislation, e.g. they are not considered a food business, they should be mindful of the 14 allergens and try to:
- Ensure those that are selling, offering or preparing food are aware of the ingredients so that they can answer allergy related questions asked by those selecting food.
- Include details of the ingredients contained in any products and/or the 14 allergens on a chalk board on a counter or behind a bake sale counter etc.
If Managing Trustees have any questions in relation to this article, please contact TMCP Legal. If Managing Trustees need any support regarding any practical considerations including such things as Health and Safety, Insurance etc, please do not hesitate to contact Property Support.