Allergen Labelling: How to meet Natasha’s Law

talk to a label expert now - call 01332 864895Natasha’s Law was enshrined in the UK on 5th September 2019. The crux of the law is that all pre-packed food will have to be individually labelled with ingredients highlighting all allergens.

The law modifies the Food Infomation Regulations (2014) with the statutory Instrument, Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019. This becomes a legal obligation in October 2021 but we want to help businesses get ready before then to help protect consumers.

The tragic events of 2016 leading to this law coming into force were reported nationally. Natasha Ednan-Laperouse was a 15 year old girl when she suffered an anaphylactic allergic reaction to poppy seeds in a baguette. She bought the baguette from a Pret A Manger at Heathrow airport before boarding a flight to France. The product was prepared on site for sale on site and as such required no labelling under UK or EU law.

Natasha’s Law changes that.

Current Allergen Labelling Law:

Until Natasha’s Law comes into force, the current EU regulations remain in place during the period of transition.

  • Food prepared for sale on the same site as the preparation does not need to be labelled individually
  • Pre-packed food prepared for sale away from site already needs to be labelled
  • That labelling needs to include a full ingredient list and have allergens highlighted within the ingredient list.
  • Information for food made on-site for sale on-site does need to be available – just not by labelling each item. A reference menu or some other sort of signage is required.

After October 2021, all pre-packed food (e.g. sandwiches, salads, pastas), whether for sale on-site or off-site, will need to have:

  • A full list of ingredients and
  • All allergens highlighted in the ingredients list
  • Irrespective of being sold on-site or off-site from where it is prepared

What Allergens need highlighting?

There are 14 allergens that need to be highlighted. (Some people may be allergic to other ingredients that do not need mandatory highlighting but these are intended to be identifiable from the ingredient list.) The allergens are:
allergen labelling

  • Celery (including celeriac) and
  • Cereals containing Gluten (including Wheat, Kamut, Spelt, Barley, Oats)
  • Crustaceans (i.e. Shellfish including Crab, Shrimp, Prawn, Lobster, Langoustine)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupins (Used in some baked goods as seed or flour)
  • Milk (including lactose products)
  • Molluscs (Whelks, Mussels, Snails)
  • Mustard
  • Nuts (specifically tree nuts): Hazelnuts, Cob Nuts, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Pistachio Nuts, Pecan Nuts, Queensland Nuts, Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame (Tahini)
  • Soya (Soy & Soybean)
  • Sulphur Dioxide or sulphites (must be declared in concentrations of more than 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre)

How should Natasha’s Law Allergens be highlighted

If the EU FIC Regulations did not apply to you, you need to understand how they work so you can implement the changes required to meet Natasha’s Law:

  • You indicate your allergens within your ingredient list.
  • You should not label allergens in addition anywhere else from the ingredient list on your product.
  • It is a misconception that allergens must be highlighted in bold.
  • Natasha’s Law increases the scope of the EU Food Information to Consumers Regulations. As such, highlighting the allergens can be done using any suitable method:
    • Bold
    • Italic
    • UPPERCASE
    • Coloured
    • Or any combination
  • You must declare how you are highlighting your allergens in your ingredient list.
  • You can declare how you are highlighting at the start or the end of the ingredient list
  • Your ingrdient list may need to be in QUID order
  • Your ingredients must be legible and meet the minimum font size (generally 7pt on your computer)

Allergen Labelling Solution

Positive ID Labels offer a complete labelling system that lets you deliver against Natasha’s Law for your food business. We offer a range of thermal label printers, perfect for labelling your products with an ingredients list and highlighting the allergens.

Our solution allows you to print multiple designs to the same template label. We can supply, the printer, the software and the labels so we can solve your entire problem. All you need to do is prepare a table with your product details. This is then linked to the label design in the label software.

As well as meeting the basic criteria of Natasha’s Law, you can include other data such as:

  • Production date
  • Use By (or Best Before Date) – calculated automatically from the date in your computer.
  • Barcode for seemless integration with your Point of Sale System
  • Human readable Price
  • Storage instructions and more…

Call us on 01332 864895 to speak to an expert

Unlike our competition, Positive ID Labels prides itself on supporting customers. Buying our solution means we supply everything including the set up of your system. Rudimentary computer skills will allow you to print any number of product labels with the correct ingredient listing and all the allergens highlighted to protect your customers.

How does it work?

Simply, we use a piece of software called Label Direct. This software is designed to allow you to create labels and print them with ease on your computer.

You create a design you want and then link the design to a simple database – a table created in Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access. (You can use free alternatives to create these such as Google Sheets (free with a GMail account) or Open Office or Libre Office.

Natasha's Law Sample Data Set Database Table of Ingredients & AllergensThe database is just a table with the information you want on your label. Imagine you want a title, the ingredients and a price. You want to create a table with 4 headings:

  1. A unique ID Number (just 1,2,3,4,5 etc.)
  2. Title
  3. Ingredients
  4. Price

Once you fill the data you are ready to create your labels in Label Direct. Depending on the software you use, you can highlight your allergens by changing the data to uppercase. Doing this in the spreadsheet is easy. All you need to do is perform a Fin & Replace action. For example, you can just select the ingredient column and press Ctrl+H – this opens the Find and Replace dialogue. Then replace all instances of “Wheat” with “WHEAT” or “Egg” with “EGGS”. The spreadsheet software (Excel, Open Office, Libre Office) does the rest for you.

The Label Direct software allows you to build a label on screen. You place the different elements where you want them – in this case, a title, the ingredients and the price. The elements are the ‘boxes’ where the data from your database is printed. You can ontrol the size of the box and the size of the text within that box. For example, you might want a big striking size and price on the label. Your ingredients may want to be set to a smaller size. When you print the labels, the software pulls the information from the database and shows the ingredients in UPPERCASE. Job done!

The Label Direct software also allows you to put your Use By or Best Before date onto the label. This can be offset using the database – just put another column of data in and fill it with the additional dates you want to be added to the date on the label.

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