One year on from Natasha’s Law consumers are still in the dark about allergy labelling

  • Two thirds (64%) unaware of the change of law to highlight allergens
  • 79% feel it is important that all ingredients are listed on menus or labels
  • 30% avoid eating at outlets that fail to label allergens
  • BSI calls for food service businesses to accelerate implementation to full labelling ahead of 1st October 2021 deadline

A year after a landmark law that will make allergen labelling on food mandatory, YouGov research commissioned by BSI has revealed nearly two thirds (64%) of respondents are still unaware of the change of law, while the food service industry faces an uphill struggle to make the shift before labelling is required.

The law, which will make allergen labelling mandatory on packaged food such as sandwiches and cakes from 1 October 2021, was named in memory of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who tragically lost her life after eating a sandwich which triggered her sesame allergy. But according to the survey’s results, 79% of UK adults believe it is important that ingredients are listed not just on labels and on menus.

As the food service industry struggles to recover from the loss of trade resulting from the pandemic, 30% of consumers surveyed said a lack of information on allergens such as nuts, gluten or seafood makes them avoid eating at certain outlets. Similarly, 45% said that lack of confidence that staff working for food service organizations have been trained about allergens, dietary requirements and hygiene stops them from eating at a venue.

BSI, who provide independent certification and training to the food service industry on food safety, believe that businesses are missing out on a chance to boost trade, and get ahead of the changes that will enable them to comply with the law when it comes into force next year.

Richard Werran, EMEA Director for Food & Retail Supply Chain at BSI said, “Our survey highlights both the concern and the appetite from consumers for more information and greater transparency, with one in three avoiding outlets that fail to label allergens. This suggests the food service and hospitality sectors are missing an opportunity to demonstrate that they have the correct systems and procedures in place to enable allergy sufferers to make informed choices.

“The labelling of allergens on each pre-packaged food, as well as other issues relating to food safety such as cross contamination, isn’t an easy process and is one that we know some businesses are concerned about getting ready in time. We’re encouraging organizations today to reach out for support on food safety to ensure their staff are properly trained and independently certified when it comes to the identification of ingredients and the management of allergens and labelling ahead of Natasha’s Law coming into force this time next year.”

Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, Natasha’s parents, said, “These survey findings lay bare the problems thousands of people with food allergies face when eating out. We need better labelling so that people with food allergies can eat pre-packed foods. We know this is a difficult time for the food and hospitality industry but they must take action now to comply with Natasha’s Law which will help to prevent more tragedies.”

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