With changes to Food Information Regulations (FIR) coming into force on the 1 October and a number of businesses not yet prepared, leading food safety specialist, Bureau Veritas, is reminding food businesses of the importance of these changes and has created a useful guide to support businesses in making the transition to more transparent allergen labelling.
Bureau Veritas’ ‘Natasha’s Law – A Guide to Compliance’ launches as it was recently reported that the majority of food business owners have said they are unprepared for the new food safety legislation due to come into effect in a couple of weeks. More concerningly, 40 per cent of businesses had not yet even heard of Natasha’s Law.1
From 1 October 2021, all pre-packed for direct sale food will need to have an individual label showing the name of the food item and a full ingredients list with the 14 allergens required to be declared by food law (emphasised on the ingredients list if present). These 14 allergens include but are not limited to milk, wheat, sesame and nuts and the ingredients label will be similar to those found on pre-packed food items sold in supermarkets.
Natasha’s Law will affect a number of businesses in the food service and retail industries, including cafes, fast food and takeaway outlets, and market stalls. Thus, Bureau Veritas has created a guide and checklist to support businesses to put in place clear and robust plans, to ensure they meet the new standard.
George Macfie, Food Technical Manager at Bureau Veritas, said: “Natasha’s Law represents one of the biggest ever changes to food safety and labelling regulations, bringing in a potentially life-saving requirement for allergens to be highlighted on food packaging which is pre-packed for direct sale. It brings greater transparency about what people are buying and eating, lays down new standards for food businesses and highlights the increasing prevalence of food allergies, which is thought to affect around two million people in the UK.”
Pre-packed for direct sale food is packed before being placed on display and offered for sale by the same food business. This could include food that a customer has selected, such as pre-packed sandwiches made on site, boxed salads, or pre-package cookies/cakes packaged in anticipation of a sale. It does not include food packed at a consumer’s request, food not in packaging, or food which is supplied pre-packed.
George continues: “Officially adopted into law on 1 October, businesses who are not yet prepared for these changes must act now. They should look at what they need to do from a supply chain and operational perspective, but also assess whether employees have sufficient training in allergens and the new requirements for Natasha’s Law.
“We’ve been working with clients since the legislation was first confirmed, as part of our comprehensive food safety and compliance offering. Developed by our dedicated food team, our new guide sets out the new legislation and informs organisations of their obligations, with a useful checklist and daily spot check to support businesses in achieving compliance with Natasha’s Law.”
Included in Bureau Veritas’ checklist for businesses to implement before 1 October is:
- Employee training and education – including handling customer questions
- Suppliers – their responsibility to provide full ingredient and allergen information
- IT – having suitable software and printing capabilities for the labels
- Trial Runs – ensuring procedures are followed, and amended if necessary
Testing, inspection and certification firm, Bureau Veritas is leading the way in helping businesses that are impacted by these regulatory changes to allergen labelling, and as part of its continued efforts, has launched a 30-minute eLearning course – ‘An Introduction to Allergens & Natasha’s Law’. The interactive course covers a refresher on the 14 allergens and definitions and examples of food pre-packed for direct sale, with learners receiving a certificate upon completion. To book onto the course, click here.
To download Bureau Veritas’ ‘Natasha’s Law – A Guide to Compliance’ guide and checklist, click here.
For further information about Bureau Veritas, please call 0345 600 1828 or visit www.bureauveritas.co.uk.
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