Natasha’s Law: Compliance Through Label Management Technology

If you have a food allergy, you know how important it is to know not only what’s in your food but how it was prepared. Similarly, if you’re a parent to a child with allergies, you know how frightening it is to send them off into environments where they could be exposed to allergens that could harm them or worse. 

Food labeling legislation has been around for some time, yet injuries, and their associated lawsuits, have still occurred. That’s why the UK is introducing Natasha’s Law, officially known as the UK Food Information Amendment, on October 1, 2021. Let’s explore Natasha’s law and how companies can use technology to ensure compliance and protect consumer safety.   

What is Natasha’s Law? 

The UK Food Information Amendment is named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a teenage girl who died in 2016. Natasha’s story made headlines after she bought a prepackaged baguette sandwich at Heathrow airport and suffered a fatal allergic reaction to one of its ingredients. Natasha was allergic to sesame seeds and even though she studied the baguette’s labeling, it included no mention of this specific allergen for Natasha. At the time, there were no strict labeling requirements for allergens, and it wasn’t disclosed that sesame seeds were baked into the baguette of the sandwich (Natasha’s Law Compliance, Kafoodle). 

In response to the efforts of Natasha’s family, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) agreed new legislation was needed to prevent future fatalities and injuries. They made the necessary changes with the goal of making the UK one of the safest places in the world for people with allergies and hypersensitivities (New Food Magazine).  

According to the UK Food Labelling Resource, the law will require companies selling prepackaged foods, also known as PPDS (prepacked for direct sale), to disclose on the label for each component of the product full ingredients and allergens. The new rules will also require allergens to be clearly displayed in the ingredients lists for easy recognition, such as by bolding, highlighting, or using differentiating colors. 

The new legislation applies to food that has been prepacked, whether on premises or by suppliers. It only affects food businesses in the UK (and the associated suppliers selling prepacked food in the UK), but once implemented, it is expected that neighboring countries will also comply. Bars, restaurants, and pubs are not directly impacted, but owners and managers should provide staff with allergen training and legislation updates (CPD Online College Knowledge Base).  

So, how can your brand produce labels in compliance with Natasha’s Law? Software can help companies assure labeling compliance and accuracy. 

Updating and Managing Your Labels 

Brands are under constant pressure to manage and update content due to increased regulatory oversight and frequent content labeling changes. That’s why Esko provides software solutions designed to help you create labels with confidence.  

WebCenter Content Management from Esko allows you to specify, amend, manage, and/or reuse content like text, claims, symbols, barcodes, and other content for use on labels, leaflets, IFUs, and more. The solution enables you to update label content without the need to manually copy and paste from spreadsheets, documents, and other sources. With WebCenter, the label content approval processes are fully trackable, creating digital audit trails. It can also be validated to meet regulatory requirements. 

New Food Magazine estimates there are roughly two million people in the UK living with food allergies and sensitivities. Natasha’s Law, while based in tragedy, helps protect these individuals in a way not previously required. Label management technology enables brands to manage their compliance requirements and assure the safety and well-being of the UK’s consumers. 

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