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Horsham District Council supporting local businesses with new food allergen laws

Horsham District Council is working with Food Standards Agency (FSA) to help support businesses to prepare for upcoming allergen labelling changes.

On 1 October 2021, the law on allergen labelling for prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) foods will change.

This means that any food business selling PPDS foods will have to include full ingredients on the product label with allergenic ingredients emphasised within that list.

The new legislation is in response to an incident in 2016 where Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, then 15, suffered a fatal anaphylactic reaction from an ingredient in a sandwich that she did not know it contained. It had been purchased from an outlet that had made and wrapped the sandwich on site, which at that time meant it did not need to display an ingredients label.

PPDS foods can include salads and sandwiches that customers select themselves and pre-wrapped foods kept behind a counter, as well as some products packaged and sold at mobile or temporary outlets. Loose foods put into a bag or packaging after being chosen and purchased by the customer are not classed as prepacked for direct sale.

Basically, if you pack or even partly wrap food that is then sold at the same premises, it will be classed as ‘pre-packed for direct sale,’ and fall under the requirements of the new Food Information amendment.

This will mean that these products will need to be labelled with the name of the product and a full ingredients list with any of the 14 key allergens clearly highlighted.

Commenting on the changes, Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Protection Cllr Tricia Youtan says "this is good news for people with food allergies or intolerances and will greatly contribute towards their health and wellbeing going forward.

We do appreciate that the new law could initially be challenging for our businesses and we want to give them as much support as possible".

With some three months to go, we are working with the FSA and are encouraging food businesses currently selling PPDS products to visit the FSA website for information and to register for their free food business webinar. It is important that businesses make full use of the information available ahead of the 1 October deadline.

Around 2% of the UK adult population has an allergy of intolerance to one or more foods, although in children this can as high as 8%.

In light of the changes, the Council is highlighting resources presented by the Food Standards Agency on all matters relating to managing allergens in food businesses, but in particular new guidance relating specifically to Natasha’s Law and targeting different sectors of the food industry.

Separate directions for the correct labelling of PPDS products has been issued for bakers, butchers, mobile food businesses, fast food and takeaways, schools and nurseries, and restaurants, cafes & pubs.

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