The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has proposed changes so all shops that prepare and sell packaged food on-site should list all ingredients and highlight major allergens to avoid deaths.
This follows the tragic deaths of Celia Marsh in 2018 and 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in 2016 who both died from allergic reactions after eating food from Pret A Manager.
At present, food prepared and sold on-site in packaging does not need a warning label because it is assumed that customers who require allergen information will ask staff for the information however the FSA’s board has decided that this was insufficient to protect the millions of people allergic to one or more of 14 major food groups.
The advice will be submitted to the government, which is consulting on changes to labelling rules where Ministers are expected to make a decision this year, however, Natasha’s parents have urged food retailers not to wait for the government to make a decision and act now. There are 14 food allergens customers should be made aware of:
- cereals containing gluten – including wheat (such as spelt and Khorasan), rye, barley and oats
- crustaceans – such as prawns, crabs and lobsters
- molluscs – such as mussels and oysters
- tree nuts – including almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts
- sesame seeds
- sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million)
This applies also to the additives, processing aids and any other substances which are present in the final product. For example, sulphites, which are often used to preserve dried fruit, might still be present after the fruit is used to make chutney. If this is the case, then these should be declared.
All mandatory allergen information should be easily accessible, visible, and clearly legible to the final consumer regardless of whether they have a food allergy or not [Source: Food Standards Agency Website]
If your business needs to label products, warn customers of allergies and inform teams of important changes, please get in touch. Call: +44 2380 816000 or drop us a line