Following on from the tragic case of 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in July 2016, a new law comes into force next month to protect food allergy sufferers.
The teenager suffered anaphylaxis after eating a Pret-a-Manger sandwich bought at Heathrow Airport. The sandwich contained sesame which wasn’t listed on the packaging. Natasha collapsed and died on a flight to Nice and since then her parents, Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse OBE, have campaigned to change the law around food labelling. Natasha’s Law has come about as a result of their campaigning.
What is Natasha’s Law?
From 1st October 2021, Natasha’s Law will come into effect. The food industry will be required to change their allergen labelling so that all pre-packaged foods display a full ingredient list.
Under current rules, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold, such as a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff, is not required to show allergen information on the package.
However, the new rules state all PPDS (pre-packed for direct sale) food must display both the name of the food along with a full ingredient list, including emphasis on any of the 14 majors allergens. These changes will apply to businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Children and adults can develop allergies to any food at any time in their life. There are approximately 2 million food allergy sufferers in the UK but this number is on the rise and Natasha’s Law is huge leap forward in protecting them.
Many allergy sufferers are anaphylactic to foods beyond the ’14 major allergens’ so a full ingredient list is required to allow allergy sufferers to make an informed decision. Failing to acknowledge and respond to the severity of food allergies puts lives in danger every day. All food suppliers must be upfront in stating exactly what ingredients they use to avoid further fatalities.
What do I need to do?
If your business sells any food products, you need to consider whether any of the products you sell classify as a PPDS Food.
The following types of businesses may find that they sell PPDS Food:
- Restaurants, bars and cafes
- Fast food and takeaways
- Mobile and street vendors
- Bakeries and butchers
- Sweet boxes
- Brownie or cake boxes
- Cake bakers
- Gift shops
But there are many more. If you aren’t sure if the new rules affect you, make sure you do the research or seek advice to ensure you are complying with the law and keeping your customers safe. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) will be responsible for ensuring that businesses take the steps to put these measures in place. You can find links to their website below.
What is anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction to a trigger such as an allergy.
- feeling lightheaded or faint
- breathing difficulties – such as fast, shallow breathing
- a fast heartbeat
- clammy skin
- confusion and anxiety
- collapsing or losing consciousness
There may also be other allergy symptoms, including an itchy, raised rash (hives); feeling or being sick; swelling (angioedema) or stomach pain.
What do I do if someone has an anaphylactic reaction?
- Use an adrenaline auto-injector (commonly referred to as an Epi-Pen) if the person has one – but make sure you know how to use it correctly first.
- Call 999 for an ambulance immediately (even if they start to feel better) – mention that you think the person has anaphylaxis.
- Remove any trigger if possible – for example, carefully remove any stinger stuck in the skin.
- Lie the person down flat – unless they’re unconscious, pregnant or having breathing difficulties.
- Give another injection after 5 to 15 minutes if the symptoms do not improve and a second auto-injector is available.
Where can I find out more?
We have included some links below to sources used for this article and some useful resources.