Is your business ready for UK labelling changes?
Products suitable for vegans aren’t always suitable for people who suffer from allergies, so it’s important to know the difference and prepare to follow the new guidelines in effect from October 2021 on labelling allergens on pre-packaged food for direct sale (PPDS) because of Natasha’s Law.
With these changes imminent, we wanted to provide some guidance and resources to help our trademark holders.
Clear labelling was the main reason we created the Vegan Trademark in 1990. We wanted to help provide clarity for vegans looking for products without memorising ingredient lists or spending time emailing companies for verification.
You may notice that alongside many of the products registered with the trademark, statements such as ‘may contain’ or certain items that appear in bold in the ingredient list. It is part of General Food Law (Regulation (EC) No 178/2002) in the UK for companies to highlight the 14 leading allergens on their products. This is why we are working with our friends over at LiberEat to help consumers easily identify Vegan Trademark products that can also meet specific allergen requirements.
Why are these changes happening?
Since 2014, allergen labelling, which highlights the 14 major allergens, can be found on food and drink items prepared in factories and then sold in shops, supermarkets, and other outlets. However, there has not been any requirement to outline allergens when the packaged items have been made in the same place they are intended to be sold (such as bakeries, cafes, and restaurants). In 2016, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse suffered a severe allergic reaction, which may have been avoided with allergen labelling on pre-packaged food for direct sale. In turn, Natasha’s Law was passed to improve allergen labelling and reduce the risk of allergic reactions.
What changes can we expect?
The changes will affect all PPDS.
Businesses will be required to clearly label what the product is and include ingredients with major allergens highlighted on the pack as with any other food product you can find in the supermarkets. The requirements will not apply to any food that is not in packaging or is packaged after being ordered by the consumer. These do not require a label with name, ingredients and allergens emphasised, however allergen information must still be provided, and this can be done through other methods, including verbally.
As part of the Vegan Trademark standards, all our holders agree to minimise cross-contamination with non-vegan ingredients as far as reasonable and practical. These steps are easily transferable to minimise the risk of allergen contamination. You can see more in our video about how cross-contamination is managed for vegan menu items.
Our collaboration with LiberEat helps make checking products quicker and simpler for everyone. LiberEat provide technology to improve the accuracy and safety of allergen, vegan and vegetarian information in menus, food labels, and supplier data. In addition, the LiberEat app helps to make partner restaurants more accessible to consumers with dietary requirements by providing bespoke menus based on the individual app user and their family members’ dietary profiles.
- Introduction to allergen labelling changes
- There are 14 allergens that must legally be declared on packaging.
- Intertek whitepaper
- Bureau Veritas training course
Further information on Natasha's Law.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.