What To Know About Food Labelling

The following guide to food labelling laws includes information on the organic labelling requirements, allergen, and nutrition requirements in the UK and many of the recent updates too. It also goes into detail about the new rules put in place for food labelling purposes, known as Natasha’s Law.

Allergen Labelling

When any pre-packaged food item has either of the fourteen named allergens, the allergenic ingredients ought to be emphasized(e.g in bold) on the packaging label of the food. It should also be easy to identify, thus should be located in a single place.

Previously, all foods that are produced and packaged on the premises (such as cafes and delis) did not need to have labelling on the packaging, as long as the customers were notified that they can inquire about allergens. However, as of 2021, which is when Natasha’s Law became effective, businesses are required to label the food with a complete list of ingredients even when the food is made on the premises. As a side point, it is probably worth mentioning that going forward businesses will probably be investing more in biodegradable labels as these are better for the environment.

What is Natasha’s Law?

Natasha’s Law is a new food labelling law that came into force in 2021 in England. Similar arrangements are ongoing to make the legislation for other nations in the UK. The law was created after a 15-yeard old Natasha Ednan-Laperhouse had an allergic reaction to a baguette that had sesame seeds, causing her death. Following the enforcement of the law in 2021, businesses are required to label food that is packaged before selling and that is made on the premises as well. The label should have a list of all the ingredients, inclusive of allergens.

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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) developed a guide for the list of food that will be affected by Natasha’s Law. It was published in October 2019, which meant that businesses has a transition period of two years in which to prepare for the new provisions.

When Should Precautionary Allergen Labelling Be Used?

The labels ensure that people with any allergies or issues with certain foods do not consume anything that may cause severe allergic reactions or stomach problems.

For instance, if you bake biscuits in a deli and package them, you can make stickers and put them on the back of the package so that the customers can read the ingredients list of the biscuits and check for allergenic components.

What are the Named Allergens?

There are currently fourteen named allergens. If your product has or was prepared in a location that also prepares the following, you should state that on the packaging of your product. The allergens are;

  1. Cereals with gluten
    2. Celery and celeriac
    10. Sesame seeds
    11. Nuts
    12. Peanuts
    13.Sulphur dioxide/any sulphites that have over 10mg per kg or ten millilitres per litre.
    14. Soybeans

Nutrition Labelling 2016

As of 2016, companies were mandated to write nutritional information on packaged food(the back of the packaging). These nutritional requirements do not apply to food supplements and natural mineral water, as these are governed by different legislations.

PARNUT foods are those made to meet certain nutritional requirements. They are such as baby food and formula, medical food products, meals and total diet replacement foods. They have nutritional rules specific to them.

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All foods packaged before purchase should include nutrition information on the packaging. It may be re-written on the front of the packaging if the manufacturer feels it is advisable. The reason for this is to ensure consumers understand what they are eating.