New food labelling regulations have been introduced, making it easier for people with food allergies to identify ingredients they need to avoid.
These new regulations mean that:
◾️ Allergen information must be highlighted in the ingredients list on pre-packaged food.
◾️ Allergen information must be made available to consumers for non pre-packaged foods (including catering).
◾️ Country of origin or place of provenance: origin requirements will tighten and will also extended to fresh and frozen meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry.
◾️ 'Back of pack' nutritional labelling information will become mandatory on the majority of pre-packed foods. It will be possible to voluntarily repeat on ‘front of pack’ information about on nutrients such as fat, sugar and salt which affect public health. It will also be possible to provide voluntary nutrition information in the 'front of pack' format on food sold loose (such as on deli counters) and in catering establishments.
◾️ Added water in certain meat and fishery products must be shown in the name of the food if it makes up more than 5% of the final product.
◾️ There will be a minimum font size for mandatory information taking account of labelling sizes.
◾️ The types of vegetable oil used in food, such as palm oil, must be stated on the label.
◾️ Date of freezing must be shown on frozen meat, frozen meat preparations and frozen unprocessed fishery products.
◾️ Drinks with high caffeine content must also be labelled as not recommended for children or pregnant and breastfeeding women, with the actual caffeine content quoted.
◾️ If distance selling (for example online or to order) all mandatory information must be provided both before the purchase is concluded (except for durability date) and at delivery.
The Food Standards Agency are responsible for general food labelling, however, we enforce the legislation.
◾️ Food Alerts
Allergen Labelling Pre-packed for Direct Sale Foods (Natasha’s Law)
Food Law in Northern Ireland in respect of food allergen labelling changed on 1st October 2021. This change in the law, also referred to as ‘Natasha’s Law’, affects businesses in Northern Ireland that package and sell or offer foods onsite to the final consumer. Any business that produces PPDS food will be required to label it with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients emphasised within the list.
These videos, produced by safefood in partnership with Local Councils in Northern Ireland and the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland, provide a guide to implementing the new labelling requirements under the law. (The Food Information Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014 (as amended 2020)).
What is a prepacked for direct sale product?
This video explains what foods classify as PPDS and the labelling changes that need to be made.
How to create an ingredient list to comply with the law
The following video show how businesses can gather the information they need to create the correct food label.
How to design and print a label for PPDS products
The final video shows how to design and print a PPDS food label.
Background to Natasha’s Law
In 2016, a UK teenager suffered a fatal anaphylactic reaction on board a flight from the UK to France. Natasha Ednan-Laperouse had a food allergy to sesame seeds and purchased a baguette before boarding the flight, not realising that sesame seeds had been baked into the baguette dough.
Following her death, her family campaigned to have the law on allergen labelling in the UK changed and from October 2021, new labelling requirements for Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) foods apply in Northern Ireland, England and Wales. Known simply as ‘Natasha’s Law’, these changes empower consumers who have a food hypersensitivity (food allergy, intolerance or coeliac disease) to make clear, safe choices when buying food.
Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) foods explained
All businesses producing food products that classify as PPDS must label them with the name of the food and a full ingredients list with the allergenic ingredients emphasised.
A PPDS food is a food that is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to customers and is in its packaging before it is ordered or selected. This includes foods such as a sandwich or salad made and packed by staff onsite and placed on a shelf for purchase. It does not include unpackaged foods or that were packaged after being ordered by the consumer, e.g., a sandwich made to order. However, allergen information must still be provided but this can be done through other means, including verbally.
It's important that food businesses in Northern Ireland are aware of their products that classify as PPDS.
The Food Standards Agency has produced a checklist that food businesses can use to determine if any of their food products classify as PPDS.
Labelling Guidance for Food Businesses for prepacked direct sale (PPDS)
Other information on the new labelling requirements is also available including sector-specific guidance e.g., for bakers, retailers or mobile food operators.
Multi lingual allergen information is available at https://www.tradingstandards.uk/practitioners/food-allergen-resource
Over 160 local food businesses and caterers attended a training event ‘PREPARE YOUR FOOD BUSINESS FOR PPDS ALLERGEN LABELLING CHANGES’ hosted by CAFRE on 12 August, where they learned of the background and context of the labelling changes, from the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation. A presentation from the Food Standards Agency explained what the changes mean for businesses, how to comply with the new rules and provided an overview of the guidance and support available to businesses.
For further information contact
Food Team on 02871 253253