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INFORMATION ON ALLERGENS.
On 1 October 2021, the law on allergen labelling for pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) foods have change.
This means that any food business selling PPDS (pre-packed direct sale) foods will have to include full ingredients on the product label with allergenic ingredients emphasised within that list. Ensuring food safety in schools is a catering management issue that is set to become more complex with the introduction of Natasha’s Law later this year.
For most schools, this will become a supplier management issue since, in many, cases, they rely on outsourced caterers to supply food for pupils on-site.
However, for schools that make and wrap food in house they will need to provide this information.
What is Natasha's Law?
Natasha died from an allergic reaction to sesame seeds, which were an unlisted ingredient in the pre-packed baguette she was eating.
Leading a lobbying group, her parents campaigned for a change in the law to close the loophole which allowed this to happen.
The baguette’s packaging contained no specific allergen information, and therefore Natasha thought it was safe for her to eat.
Under the new rules, food that is pre-packaged for direct sale (PPDS) must display the following clear information on its packaging:
The food’s name
A full list of ingredients, emphasising any allergenic ingredients.
This marks a big change for caterers and organisations providing catering services, including schools.
How will Natasha's Law apply to school catering?
Food allergies are common in children. It’s estimated that around one in five children has a food allergy, so the potential implications of getting this wrong are huge.
Children’s immune systems react in different ways to certain foods. A certain type of food might be safe to eat, but the body mistakes the proteins in it as harmful and responds by producing an antibody.
Some symptoms will be more severe than others, ranging from a runny nose and itchy eyes to skin reactions, breathing difficulties, nausea, and diarrhoea. For schools with a high concentration of pupils on-site, there are serious implications, both for children’s health and their own duty of care.
The link below will give you more information if needed.
St Joseph's Catering