Type “Natasha’s Law” into a search engine, and you’ll find a page filled with articles that make this new legislation seem complicated and confusing.
With so many people talking about Natasha’s Law, you’d think there would be little uncertainty around the law or how to uphold it. But the more the talk increases, the more the confusion does as well.
Here’s the simple reality, though: Upholding Natasha’s Law is relatively simple.
Like any law, Natasha’s Law gets complicated when you read every last line of it. But if you stick to the basics, it’s simple.
Here’s what it boils down to—If you sell prepackaged food for direct sale (aka PPDS food), you must include a label that:
- Shows the name of the food.
- Lists the ingredients in volume order.
- Highlights any of the 14 allergens listed under Natasha’s Law, which you can do by writing the listed allergen in bold letters.
That’s it! Simple.
Here’s what that looks like on a label:
What are the 14 allergens specified in Natasha’s Law?
In case you’re wondering what they are, we listed the 14 allergens specified under Natasha’s Law. Download it, print it out and hang it up as a friendly reminder for you and your colleagues. Having the allergens listed in plain sight will help your team memorise and label these ingredients properly.
What food qualifies as prepacked for direct sale (aka PPDS)?
Food that qualifies as prepacked for direct sale, or PPDS for short, is prepared and packaged at the location it’s sold to customers. In essence, food that’s packaged before a customer orders or selects it qualifies as PPDS.
PPDS includes food that consumers personally select from display units in addition to food items stored behind a counter. On occasion, food sold at mobile or temporary outlets qualifies as PPDS as well.
When in doubt, ask yourself, “Did we prepare and package the food on location? Does the customer have to unwrap the food to consume it?” If you answer “yes” to each of those questions, then the food in question qualifies as PPDS. As such, it deserves proper labelling in accordance with Natasha’s Law.
Need a few examples of PPDS?
The items listed below qualify as PPDS foods.
- Sausages & burgers that a butcher prepackaged on-premise, which are then sold to customers at the same location
- Prepackaged food served in care homes, schools, hospitals and other similar places
- Fast food that gets packaged before being ordered by a customer. This food could be a burger under a hot lamp or any food that you cannot alter without first opening its packaging. Again, if the customer must open packaging and wrapping to consume the food item in question, it qualifies as PPDS.
- Cookies or desserts that were packed on site, later removed from their packaging and then offered to customers as free samples
- Bakery items, sandwiches and other products packaged on-site before being ordered by a customer
- Foods that were packaged and then sold at another location by the same vendor/business
- Products that get prepackaged and put out for direct sale at the same location. These products could include rotisserie chickens, salads, burritos, sushi, pasta pots and pizzas.
To help you identify labelling requirements for your restaurant, click the button below to access a helpful tool created by the Food Standards Agency.
What does not fall into the PPDS category?
- Food that gets packaged by one business and given to another business does not qualify as PPDS. This type of prepacked food must include full labelling. That includes the name of the food and a full list of ingredients. Ingredients lists must emphasise all allergenic ingredients.
- Any food not contained within packaging and also food packaged after the consumer orders it. These non-prepacked foods do not require a label with name, allergens and ingredients emphasised. Businesses must still provide proper allergen information to the consumer. They can do this verbally or through other means, such as a physical menu.
- The new labelling requirements do not apply to PPDS food sold through distance selling. That includes food purchased over the internet, through a third-party food delivery app or via phone. However, customers must have access to a list of allergens at the time of delivery, which means it’s best to label food items before they leave your business—regardless of who delivers them.
Businesses selling PPDS food in the ways listed above will need to ensure that their customers have access to mandatory allergen information before purchasing the products. Customers must also have allergen information given to them at the point of delivery, as specified already.
Other helpful information about Natasha’s Law
Officially, Natasha’s Law takes effect on 1 October 2021. The name of the law honors Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died from an allergic reaction to an olive, artichoke and tapenade baguette that she purchased at Heathrow Airport. Due to inadequate labelling, Natasha had no idea of the sesame baked into the baguette, which later triggered her allergic reaction.
Compliance made easy
Hopefully, you now feel more confident in your ability to uphold Natasha’s Law. However, if you still feel uncertain or are looking for an efficient way to comply with the law, we can help.
Our DateCodeGenie® automated labelling system allows you to design and print labels that help your organisation stay up to code and protect customers.
You can view all our DateCodeGenie models, request a demonstration and find a labelling solution that meets your exact needs by clicking the button below.