New law to protect people with food allergies
12th September 2019
Food allergy sufferers in England are soon to be protected by a new law. The government announces that businesses will be required to provide full ingredient and allergen information.
As published on Gov.uk, the government has planned to implement stronger laws following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette.
According to the current law, food that is prepared on the premises where it’s sold is not required to display allergen information on the labels which leaves people with food allergies uncertain of what they can eat.
Food Minister Zac Goldsmith’s comments: “This is a significant moment for the millions of allergy sufferers in England and a fitting tribute to Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse’s tireless campaigning. The introduction of this law will make it easier for allergy sufferers to make clear, safe choices when buying food.”
The new law, ‘Natasha’s Law’, will come into force in October 2021, giving businesses a transition period to prepare for the new rules. The changes are set to be made in England, with similar laws expected to follow for the rest of the UK.
The Food Standards Agency Chair Heather Hancock also told Gov.uk: “This is an important and welcome step towards our ambition for the UK to become the best place in the world for people who have food allergies and intolerances.
“I encourage businesses large and small to work with the Food Standards Agency to get this right. Success will mean more choice and better protection for the millions of people – our families, friends, colleagues and neighbours across the UK – who have food allergies.”
According to a report published by the Food Standards Agency, an estimated 2 million people in the UK are living with a diagnosed food allergy, excluding those with intolerances. There is an average of 10 deaths per year for allergic reactions, with the most at risk being teenagers and those in their 20s who are starting to make independent food choices.
With there being no cure, the only way to avoid a reaction is to live by a strict avoidance diet, however, this can add a strain on a person’s lifestyle and those around them. Once the new law is in place, it’ll make visiting cafés where food is prepared a lot easier and safer.