Free support for businesses on how to comply with new food labelling law

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Businesses are being offered free advice and support by the council on how to comply with a new food labelling law, helping to protect consumers with allergies while ensuring traders are prepared for the change.

Natasha’s Law comes into force nationally on Friday 1 October. It is named after 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in July 2016 after suffering an allergic reaction to sesame seeds, an undeclared ingredient in a pre-packed baguette.

The legislation will make it mandatory for any business that produces Pre-Packed food for Direct Sale (PPDS) to label it with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients emphasised within the list. This is food which is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to consumers and is in the packaging before it is ordered or selected.

The council’s Environmental Health officers have been explaining the new law to businesses across the Royal Borough during their routine visits, while Trading Standards will be distributing a factsheet to shops explaining what the legislation means and how to get free advice. Businesses will also be able to contact the teams should they need support.

Councillor David Cannon, cabinet member for public protection, said: “I welcome this change in the law which will help protect consumers by displaying potentially life-saving allergen information on food products.

“Businesses need to check if their products require new labelling and how they can comply with the law. We have seen new businesses start during the pandemic, and others adapt to the changing circumstances, and some may be unaware of this legislation or unsure whether they need to make changes and how to go about this.

“Officers from our Trading Standards and Environmental Health teams are here to help and will make the process as easy and as hassle-free as possible. However, the responsibility for complying with the rules sits with businesses.”

Officers have also been contacting businesses via social media. Small, independent food businesses proliferated during the pandemic, with the majority being home-based, and the council wants to ensure they are aware of Natasha’s Law and that help is at hand if they need it.

For free advice, call 01628 683800, email trading.standards@rbwm.gov.uk or env.health@rbwm.gov.uk

For more information, visit https://www.rbwm.gov.uk/home/business-and-economy/trading-standards/natashas-law

For sector-specific guidance, visit https://www.food.gov.uk/allergen-labelling-changes-for-prepacked-for-direct-sale-ppds-food or https://natashas-law.com/