The government has announced that new food labelling legislation - Natasha’s Law - will come into full effect by the summer of 2021 to help better safeguard food allergy sufferers.
Natasha’s Law states that food and drink businesses operating in England and Northern Ireland will soon need to include full ingredient labelling (ingredients breakdown) on all pre-packaged food and drink products, businesses have been given two years to adapt. The revised allergen labelling legislation will affect providers who make and pack their products - such as sandwiches and salads - fresh on site ready to be sold from the same premises (through a van or at further premises) over the coming days. If, like many food and drink operators, you are concerned what Natasha’s Law means for your business - exactly what information your food labelling should now include along with the costs, logistics and man hours of updating allergen information on pack, then please read on as it needn't be the headache that it might sound.
How long will it take me to create allergen and ingredients labelling?
Our labelling software LabelLogic Live is designed to be as quick and simple to use as possible and offers you complete control over the allergen information you provide for your customers on pack. Inputting 30 products manually will take around 1 - 2 hours and once your products have been entered you won’t need to input them again. If you already have a list of products or ingredients stored in Excel or other software, this can be imported straight in.
New food labelling legislation proposal: what is Natasha’s Law?
New labelling legislation called Natasha’s Law is calling for all prepacked food and drink products to carry full ingredients labelling by the summer of 2021. The proposed changes will make food labelling clearer, consistent and safer for those suffering from allergies. It will also help to safeguard businesses selling prepackaged foods.
The proposal follows the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperpouse in July 2016, who lost her life after having an allergic reaction to a baguette sandwich. Natasha had a known allergy to sesame products but there was nothing printed on the sandwich packaging to advise her that the product contained ingredients of this nature. The sandwich was made on the premises on which it was sold therefore, under the current food labelling laws, the large grab and go operator who supplied the baguette was not legally obliged to list allergens on the pack however, Natasha’s death was a stark wake up call. The government has since been investigating how the presence of allergens should best be communicated through food and drink labelling.
What are the current food labelling laws in the UK?
Under the current Food Information Regulations food and drink providers selling products made fresh on site are exempt from giving a full ingredients declaration on pack. This is providing that details of allergens and other ingredients are readily available to consumers via signage and staff. This even applies to producers who make food and drink on-site but then sell through an off-premises outlet (such as a van). Meanwhile food and drink providers selling products off-site (through a supermarket for example) must give a full nutritional breakdown on the label.
While Natasha’s Law still needs to go through the House of Commons, it is anticipated that providers will soon need to label all prepackaged foods with a full ingredient breakdown regardless of whether these are sold on or off site.
When will Natasha’s Law come into effect?
The new legislation is expected to be put before the House of Commons by the end of summer, with businesses expected to implement the new rules by 2021.
How does the proposed new labelling legislation affect me?
Natasha’s Law will affect anyone that prepacks food or drink items for sale. It does not affect providers who serve food unpackaged even if it is then decanted into a bag or take away container to be consumed off site. So, for example, a deli-style sandwich made to order while the customer waits will not require a food label. Even if the sandwich is then wrapped or bagged to eat elsewhere. Likewise a burger or similar street food style offering will not require ingredient labelling if boxed up and taken off site as long as it is cooked to order while the customer waits. Pre cooked grab and go items such as soups, pasta dishes or even cakes will not require nutritional labelling either as long as they are presented ‘loose’ (for example warmed on a hot plate or in a soup kettle) and served into a takeaway box or container on purchase.
What information should my food labelling include?
The British Sandwich and Food To Go Association has issued a statement for its members which you’ll find under the news section of our website here.
What is the easiest way to update my labelling inline with Natasha’s Law?
Our award winning labelling software LabelLogic Live creates nutritional labelling that is fully compliant with Natasha’s Law and can be used to highlight allergens both front and back of pack.
You can find more information about LabelLogic Live here or watch our 2 minute animation about our food labelling software here. In a nutshell however, it is a really quick and easy way to create food labelling online (with as much or as little information as you require) and then print using your existing desktop printer. What’s more, you can access the app any time, any place on any of your web connected devices (phone, laptop, Mac, PC, tablet etc).
Can I use my existing labels?
This depends on a few things: if you plan to display all information front of pack or whether you would prefer to display ingredients back of pack and - if everything is going front of pack- whether the label design you are currently using has enough room for the additional information you may soon need to include. If you would like to display ingredients back of pack you could add these using a plain label while continuing to use your current label design front of pack. If you plan to use one label only we would recommend that you do not use anything smaller than a 9 per sheet label, this way your ingredients - and other information - will remain easy to read. If however you would like to add additional things like barcodes or nutritional information we would suggest a 6 per sheet.
What if Natasha’s Law changes or food labelling legislation alters again in the future?
LabelLogic Live is cloud based so, as well as giving you 24 hour access wherever you’ve got internet access, everything is stored online too which means that we can update the software instantly in line with any legislative changes that may come.
How much does your food labelling software cost?
LabelLogic Live is subscription based and available from £10 per month.
Will I need to buy a roll printer?
No. We sell a wide variety of label designs which are provided on sheets. LabelLogic Live overprints our sheet labels with your product information using a standard desktop printer. This said, LabelLogic Live can also print to a roll printer, we also stock several roll label designs.
How do I access your food labelling software? What if I need support?
Unlike other software providers, we don’t need to send someone out to set up LabelLogic Live on your computer. Once you’re given a login (which normally takes 24 hours to set up) you’re away. And if this sounds like you'll be left too much to your own devices, worry not, LableLogic Live comes with plenty of free support (if you want it). Your account manager can give you an overview and help you to get set up, likewise our support team are available over the phone, through the live chat function on the LabelLogic Live website and can even access your computer remotely to make changes on your behalf. We’ve a ton of tutorials online too, just visit our YouTube channel to view.
Does your software link to others?
Currently, we can link LabelLogic Live with Starchef and Saffron. We are always happy to investigate other software options on behalf of our customers so please let us know how we can better assist you.
You may like to read our recent case study in which Elior product manager Ian Smith discusses how our labelling software was integrated with the company’s existing menu systems to ensure accurate, consistent, accountable labelling at more than 200 Elior sites around the UK.
I'm already using LabelLogic Live - how do I add ingredients or nutritional information to my labelling?
Easy peasy, see our tutorial here.
Please contact us if we can provide further information about our labels, food labelling software or any of our products and services.