Food Standards Agency
Environment Secretary proposes tougher labelling laws for allergy sufferers
- Also published by:
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The government has launched a consultation to strengthen allergen labelling laws.
Proposals to overhaul allergen labelling laws and give consumers clearer information on the food they buy have been unveiled by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
Subject to a consultation launched today,food outlets selling pre-packaged food directly for sale could be required to follow new rules designed to give the UK’s two million food allergy sufferers greater confidence in the safety of their food.
Under current rules, food prepared on the premise in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information on the package – but the proposed rules could go as far as seeing full ingredients labelling required by law.
The moves follow the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
Natasha’s parents have suffered a terrible loss, and I want to pay tribute to Nadim and Tanya for their inspirational work to deliver Natasha’s law.
We want to ensure that labels are clearer and that the rules for businesses are more consistent – so that allergy sufferers in this country can have confidence in the safety of their food.
Many businesses are already bringing changes on board independently, and in the meantime they should continue doing all they can to give consumers the information they need.
The proposed reforms cover labelling requirements for foods that are packed on the same premises from which they are sold – such as a packaged sandwich or salad made by staff earlier in the day and placed on a shelf for purchase.
Currently, these foods are not required to carry labels, and information on allergens can be given in person by the food business if asked by the consumer.
Food businesses and allergy sufferers are being invited to have their say on four options put forward to improve the way allergy information is provided for these foods, including:
- mandating full ingredient list labelling
- mandating allergen-only labelling on food packaging
- mandating ‘ask the staff’ labels on all products, with supporting information for consumers available in writing
- promoting best practice around communicating allergen information to consumers
Food Standards Agency Chairman Heather Hancock said:
It’s essential for those of us with a food allergy or intolerance to know that we can trust the food we eat. Accurate and reliable labelling is vital, and this consultation is firmly aimed at improving the confidence we have in it.
In recent years choice, trust and availability has really improved for people with food allergy. We want those improvements to continue, so it’s important that we hear from everyone affected, as part of this consultation. We’re determined to keep on making life better for you.
CEO of Allergy UK, Carla Jones, said:
We welcome this announcement and the commitment shown by the Environment Secretary on this issue. At Allergy UK we believe that whilst those living with allergies must be vigilant on their own behalf, the broader food industry needs to do more than just the bare minimum when it comes to catering for the allergic community. We encourage all those living with allergies to engage with this consultation to ensure their views on this important issue are heard.
The Environment Secretary and Food Minister David Rutley met allergen groups and retailers late last year to discuss the proposed options around allergen labelling laws.
The Environment Secretary has also met the parents of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse to discuss their campaign for a change in food labelling laws.
A number of food businesses have already begun to implement changes to their provision of allergen information and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will continue to provide food businesses with guidance on allergens. In September the FSA launched Easy to Ask, a campaign to empower young people to ask food businesses about allergens when eating out so they can make safe food choices.
The consultation can be responded to on Defra’s gov.uk page.
Latest News from
Food Standards Agency
FSA’s Public Attitudes Tracker Survey Wave 19 results published25/02/2020 12:25:00
The Food Standards agency have published their Biannual Public Attitudes Tracker (November 2019) results.
FSA research suggests new higher estimates for the role of food in UK illness21/02/2020 12:25:00
A scientific review by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) estimating that around 2.4 million cases of foodborne illness occur every year in the UK has been published. This is up from the 2009 estimate of approximately one million.
Latest levels of AMR bacteria in chicken published19/02/2020 10:25:00
Food Standards Agency have published the results of two surveys monitoring antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in chicken.
Food Standards Agency launches new campaign to encourage NI people to ‘Check the Label’ on food items18/02/2020 10:25:00
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Northern Ireland (NI) has launched an integrated marketing campaign across NI to encourage people to ‘Check the Label.’
Food Standards Agency sets deadline for the CBD industry and provides safety advice to consumers14/02/2020 09:25:00
The FSA has set a deadline for CBD businesses to provide more information about CBD products and their contents. It also advises vulnerable groups not to take CBD, and healthy adults to take no more than 70mg a day.
FSA welcomes sentencing in US DNP trial12/02/2020 10:25:00
The Food Standards Agency welcomes the sentencing of a man who unlawfully sold DNP, resulting in the deaths of three people.
Contract for FSA Delivered Meat and Dairy Official Controls awarded to Eville and Jones Ltd29/01/2020 17:14:00
The contract for Official Controls delivery in approved meat and dairy establishments in England and Wales will be delivered by Eville and Jones Ltd, on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) from 30 March 2020.
FSA consults on updated guidance following change to allergen labelling law24/01/2020 10:20:00
The FSA has published a consultation on updates to its existing technical guidance to reflect changes to food allergen labelling legislation in England which comes into effect on 1 October 2021.