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Let's Talk About Allergens: The Wider Relevance of Natasha's Law

The wider significance of Natasha’s Law.

 

There has been enough media coverage for us all to have caught the end of a newsreel or coffee break chit chat but perhaps the finer details are something some of us are still unsure of. Through a mixture of facts and real-life experience, this article hopefully will provide knowledge, relevance and discuss the potential impact on associated landscapes such as schools and EdTech providers.

On the 5th of September 2019, the UK Parliament1 created a law, requiring food business operators who supply pre-packaged foods are to include full ingredient labelling on pre-packed foods for direct sale (PPDS). This law was named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse. Tragically, Natasha purchased a baguette from a high street food chain and the allergic reaction she experienced meant sadly she lost her life. Had there been clear allergen labelling on the packaging of the baguette, the outcomes may have been very different for Natasha and her loved ones. The extensive campaigning of Natasha’s parents has led to the much-needed amendments to Food Information Regulations 20142. Moreover, in June 2020, the Food Standards Agency (FSA)3 produced technical guidance for The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 (referred to as “Natasha’s Law”) to assist businesses to understand and implement changes that bring their organisations in line with the 1st of October 2021 deadline.

This update to legislation serves to protect not only those with severe allergies but also those individuals with intolerances, which may still affect the quality of their daily life. The Natasha Research Allergy Foundation4 aggregates many informative statistics. They suggest that there are at least two million people who have been diagnosed with a food allergy or intolerance in the UK and that 40% of those are children. Furthermore, it is estimated that 1 in 100 people have coeliac disease, a genetic and autoimmune disease triggered by eating gluten (Food Standards Agency3). These figures do not consider those who are yet to be diagnosed.

For example, a recent conversation highlighted the wider-reaching implication of food allergies. Not only those whose ingestion causes fatality but also those whom it does not. For instance, a teenager with suspected lactose intolerance, who has experienced problems with sickness, bloating, stomach aches for many years but perhaps it has been difficult to pinpoint the cause. Even an intolerance has meant time away from school and extracurricular activities when lactose products have been consumed. This translates to missed school and may lead to impacts on a student’s education. The clear labelling on pre-packaged food items of the 14 allergens, in addition to a conscientious effort from those in associated businesses outside of food business operators can only serve to improve the safeguarding, quality of life and in some cases preservation of life for students who suffer from allergies and intolerances.

Community Brands UK acknowledges the importance of working and continuing to work with industry and associates to ensure understanding of future potential implications and support for our customers in preparation for 1st October 2021 and beyond.

The following links provide supporting information and signposting which may be helpful if Natasha’s law applies to your school/college. 

Food Standards Agency3 summary of requirements for Natasha’s Law

https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/fsa-food-allergen-labelling-and-information-requirements-technical-guidance_0.pdf

Natasha’s Law: the basics, simply put in a whitepaper, written by Kafoodle5

https://kafoodle.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Natashas-Law-Whitepaper.pdf

If your school are supplying PPDS food. A free allergy and intolerance training session can be found here: https://allergytraining.food.gov.uk/login/index.php

The new legislation requires the food to have the food’s name and clear labelling of any of the 14 allergens. The Food Standard Agency have a useful tool that assists food labelling decisions: https://www.food.gov.uk/allergen-ingredients-food-labelling-decision-tool

 

References and resources

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natashas-legacy-becomes-law
  2. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1855/schedule/6/made#:~:text=PART%201%20Revocations%20coming%20into%20force%20on%2013th,for%20regulat%20…%20%2015%20more%20rows%20
  3. https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/media/document/fsa-food-allergen-labelling-and-information-requirements-technical-guidance_0.pdf
  4. https://www.narf.org.uk/
  5. https://kafoodle.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Natashas-Law-Whitepaper.pdf
  6. https://allergytraining.food.gov.uk/login/index.php
  7. https://www.food.gov.uk/allergen-ingredients-food-labelling-decision-tool

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