Natasha’s Law: Frustrations Grow While the Clock is Ticking…

From 1st October 2021, new legislation dictates that all food business across the country (regardless of size) will be expected to provide full ingredients labelling and allergens information on all pre-packaged foods, such as sandwiches, baguettes and pre-packed salads.  Yet according to recent research* eight in ten food business owners say they feel unprepared for the new food regulations coming into effect next month.  This comes despite 90% of businesses saying they have received plenty of information about what the new law entails, which has been drawn up in the wake of the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

The food industry faces many pressures right now as a result of the pandemic, and the added task of keeping on top of allergens management is another load for the sector to bare.  In the case of smaller businesses with less resource that their larger counterparts, many feel that the legislation is coming too soon and that they have not had adequate time to prepare for the changes.  Likewise, there are fears around the speed at which smaller businesses can get fully up to date on allergens information, particularly as their ingredients may change more frequently on a daily basis and they will have more limited resource.

Either way, there is little doubt that implementing these requirements and maintaining them is going to be a huge task for many businesses and is something that they cannot afford to get wrong.   The truth is most food businesses are well aware of how serious the issue of allergies is, but confusion and misinformation means taking action can be daunting and stressful.

Legislation can be a minefield at the best of times and is often complex to navigate, not to mention time consuming.  Using comprehensive eProcurement technology with the functionality to manage allergens and nutritional data is one way to alleviate any concerns and tackle the issue head on.  It also reduces the potential for human error.  Our recipe builder with automated allergens and nutrition is extremely helpful because it enables you to place orders more efficiently, safe in the knowledge that you are following the most up to date compliance legislation.

Using the right technology can also help you with recipe and portion planning while keeping you on budget.  Our platform also ensures that all allergens and nutritional information is directly sourced from suppliers and manufacturers, so that you know exactly what you are purchasing.  Equally our technology includes automated HACCP food safety guidelines and will trigger alerts regarding any new regulations or changes, now and into the future.

The majority of larger food chains actually welcome the new laws and the assurance and peace of mind that it will bring both from a consumer and business perspective. But the new regulations will undoubtedly pose several challenges for businesses across the supply chain, especially as many larger businesses and chains have made no secret that they would change suppliers if their current network cannot provide the correct allergens information. 

One thing is for sure, the clock is ticking, and the responsibility now lies with all food business across the UK to start prepping and planning to ensure they are equipped with the necessary tools and data to allow them to respond effectively when the time arises.

*Research conducted by not-for-profit food data specialist GS1 UK, September 2021

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