Put forward in the wake of the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who suffered a fatal allergic reaction to sesame after eating a Pret A Manger baguette, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs created four suggestions for allergen labelling for consultation.
These options are: keeping the law as it is; adding ‘ask the staff’ stickers to packs; label food with names and list of allergens; and label food with full ingredients with allergens emphasised.
Dominic Watkins, DWF partner and head of its food group said: “Of the consulted-on options, creating a mandatory, consistent signposting scheme directing customers to ask staff for further information would be a quick, effective and proportionate solution – and one with which consumers are familiar. Coupled with the campaign to raise awareness, this is the right way forward.”
He warned that additional labelling could be costly for smaller businesses. “To require full ingredient labelling is not a proportionate response – it will not only increase costs for both businesses and consumers, but will likely also result in reduced ranges. The food-to-go market is complex, and any legislation that places onerous one-size-fits-all labelling obligations will add significant costs to many small businesses that are already stretched as they struggle to come to terms with what their supply chain might look like post-Brexit.”