The government has announced that they are planning to introduce new food laws for the labelling of allergens. The legislation is yet to go through Parliament and it is expected that the new laws will be in place by 2021.
The change in the law is welcomed by the Food Standards Agency in light of recent high profile cases, where consumers have suffered severe allergic reactions due to food purchased with incorrect or insufficient labelling to safeguard consumers.
What are the changes?
Currently pre-packed foods for direct sale do not have to have labels with details of allergens. Pre-packed foods for direct sale are those foods that have been made, packed and sold on the same premises, for example a salad that is prepared by staff on site and is sold later that day to a customer from the same premises. Requirements have been more relaxed for food sold in this manner as it is argued that customers can ask staff for the allergen information. This relies on the sales staff having the correct information and experience to properly advice consumers.
When will the changes take place?
The new laws are expected to come into force by the summer of 2021 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Food Standards Agency is encouraging business to start making the required changes now. We would advise FSB members to do the same so as to ensure you can meet the anticipated 2021 deadline and to ensure that you are seen to be doing all that is reasonably practicable to provide allergen information to your customers.
Contact the FSB Legal Advice line to discuss your Health and Safety questions, including any queries you may have around Food Safety.