One in three people with known allergies have reported having an allergic reaction in a restaurant.
So, food allergies are clearly a serious cause for concern for many individuals who have to be incredibly careful about avoiding ingredients that could cause them serious harm.
One way that the government has tried to mitigate these risks is by introducing laws that enforce the usage of food safety labels and allergen lists. This places a large responsibility on organisations that serve food, as they need to ensure that this information is made readily available to those who need it.
There is also a new piece of legislation that will come into effect soon that is related to PPDS (food products that are pre-packed before direct sale to the consumer). These changes to the existing food labelling laws come as a result of the incident involving Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to an undeclared ingredient in a pre-packed meal, but this is probably not the only incident that has occurred as a result of undeclared ingredients. And accurate labelling could have prevented these incidents in the first place.
What does PPDS mean?
PPDS stands for “pre-packed for direct sale”, which is referring to any food item that is packaged before they are ordered by a customer. These products must have also been packaged on the same site that they are sold. For example, sandwiches that are made in a kitchen then packaged and sold over the counter.
A product may also be classified as PPDS if they have been packaged on one site and then transported to a temporary point of retail for the same business. For example, being moved to a food stall operating temporarily on a high street.
The packaging for a PPDS item doesn’t have to be fully enclosing it, but it must be sealed so that the product can not come into contact with an allergen after already being labelled.
PPDS legislation only applies to food products that have been packaged before they are selected. Items that are packaged after selection should have their potential allergens listed elsewhere and they should be consulted to the consumer before the purchase is made.
What are the new Food Labelling Regulations?
Back in June 2020, the Food Standards Agency published a new set of food labelling requirements. This update to the Food Information Regulations 2014 comes into effect on the 1st October 2021 with a new amendment for England, which is commonly referred to as Natasha’s Law.
Natasha’s Law guidance states that all food products that are pre-packed for direct sale must ensure that a list of all ingredients is present on the packaging of the product. Any allergen that is present in these ingredients must be made to be seen clearly so that consumers have a better chance of avoiding ingredients that might be harmful to them.
Who is affected by the Food Labelling Regulations?
Although Natasha’s Law is only to be enforced in England, other UK countries are all expected to put similar laws in place once the changes have been put in place.
Any business that sells PPDS products will be affected by the new regulations, and it is highly advised that these organisations prepare for the change before the 1st of October.
The types of organisations most likely to be affected are cafes, with the regulations expected to affect thousands of organisations.
Organisations like restaurants are less likely to be affected by Natasha’s Law, as they rarely sell PPDS products. However, it is still crucial that these establishments ensure that all allergies are labelled as clearly as possible for the food you are serving, as well as asking consumers if they suffer from any allergies when they are ordering.
How to Comply with PPDS new Food Labelling Regulations
Natasha’s Law requires all PPDS food to clearly display the following on its packaging:
- The name of the food that has been packaged
- A full list of ingredients that can be found in the product, including any of the fourteen key allergens
If there are any allergens that are present in the ingredients, then they must be made clear by either putting the words in bold, increasing their size, or changing the font.
Additionally, the legal name of the food product must be displayed clearly on the packaging. Some food products have legal names in UK food law, such as jam, which requires a certain percentage of a particular ingredient to be legally classified as that food.
Food can also be labelled as its customary name, which is a name that has become accepted by the general public and requires no other description to let people know what it is. For example, a caesar salad.
Organisations can also choose to add a description to the food product to provide more clarity about what is present. This can be particularly useful for products with multiple components, such as a sandwich.
It is the responsibility of the food retailers to ensure that ingredient lists are up-to-date and that changes to recipes are reflected. Food suppliers are legally required to give a full list of ingredients in any product they sell to a business, so food retailers should always have that information to hand.
It is also highly recommended that labels for PPDS products are digitally printed rather than hand written to bring consistency to the labels.
Online Food Allergy Awareness Training
Here at iHASCO, we offer an Online Food Allergy Awareness Training course that is designed for individuals producing, selling or handling food. All staff handling food should have a thorough understanding of allergens and the potential dangers surrounding them.
However, with Natasha’s law being enforced from the 1st October 2021, we will be launching an updated version of this course between the 16th-22nd September that will include key legislative updates, including PPDS changes.
To find out more about our course and Natasha’s law, then please read our blog.
Alternatively, you can request a bespoke quote for your organisation today!