Published: 13:09, 27 September 2021
| Updated: 16:04, 27 September 2021
Food outlets are being urged to ensure they don't fall foul of new rules coming into force this week - designed to prevent another allergy tragedy.
From Friday, October 1, Natasha's Law is introduced. It will require more pre-packaged food like takeaway sandwiches and salads to have their full ingredients listed.
The new law is named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died after suffering an allergic reaction to sesame seeds in a baguette she had purchased from Pret a Manger. She was just 15.
Her parents - Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse - have waged a tireless campaign to strengthen food labelling rules and better protect the estimated two million food allergy sufferers in Britain today.
Changes ushered in by the law will apply to businesses who sell their own pre-packaged food at other outlets they run - which will include market stalls and mobile food vans.
Under current legislation, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information in writing.
As a consequence, there was no specific allergen information on the packaging of the baguette that caused Natasha’s fatal reaction.
In July 2016, Natasha - who knew she had a severe reaction to sesame - had bought an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette from a Pret store at Heathrow Airport as she prepared for a family holiday flight. She fell ill while in the air and despite efforts to give her adrenaline shots, she was unable to breathe and suffered a heart attack. She died in a French hospital.
This will give food allergy sufferers, who are trying to lead independent lives, more confidence in the ‘on-the-go’ food they buy'
Natasha's parents hope the closing of the loophole will be a fitting legacy to their daughter.
Kent County Council’s head of Trading Standards, Steve Rock, said: “By providing potentially life-saving allergen information on more food packaging, this new law will help protect millions of consumers.
“Research shows over a third of young people with food allergies don’t feel confident asking serving staff for allergen information - so, significantly, this legal change will give food allergy sufferers between 16 and 24, who are trying to lead independent lives, more confidence in the ‘on-the-go’ food they buy.
“Businesses should act now and check if their products are affected and what they need to do to comply with the incoming rules."
Any business needing help and advice with allergy labelling can call Trading Standards on 03000 412020 or email TSbusinessadvice@kent.gov.uk.