Ian Thomas Associates

Allergen labelling for foods prepacked for direct sale

1 October 2023 saw the two-year anniversary of the introduction of ‘Natasha’s Law’. This provides that foods that are prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) must be named and must contain a list of ingredients in which any of the 14 prescribed allergens are emphasised. These obligations are formally set out in the Food Information Regulations 2014 as enacted in each of the four nations of the United Kingdom.

In July 2023, the Food Standards Agency published a report evaluating the impact of this law which revealed a high level of awareness of the requirements among food business operators (FBO). For example, 91% of them knew that on 1 October 2021, the labelling of PPDS food with a name and full ingredients list became a legal requirement.

The report can be accessed at https://www.food.gov.uk/research/executive-summary-ppds-evaluation

Some FBOs indicated that they found it difficult to fully comply with the requirements citing the time and cost involved in introducing and updating labels. However, my experience of assisting FBOs who have failed to comply with allergen labelling requirements (prepacked and non-prepacked foods) is that the time and cost involved in responding to a complaint or formal enforcement action, such as defending a criminal prosecution, can be extremely significant often resulting in negative publicity and reputational damage.

In Ireland, the law requiring the provision of allergen information in respect of non-prepacked food can be found in the Health (Provision of Food Allergen Information to Consumers in respect of Non-Prepacked Food) Regulations 2014 (S.I. 489/2014).

Ian Thomas is a lawyer practising in Ireland and in England and Wales. He is very experienced in advising and representing food businesses across a wide range of food related matters and if we can help to solve your issues or advise on your compliance obligations please get in touch – ian@ianthomasassociates.com or ian.thomas@6pumpcourt.co.uk.

This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute the provision of legal advice. You should always take independent legal advice in respect of any legal or regulatory issues you may be having.

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