The survey of 1,000 adults also found that more than half (53%) of respondents couldn’t name any of the 14 allergens food businesses food businesses must declare under UK law. A further 20% were able to name between one and three.
Results from the survey come just over one year since the induction of Natasha’s Law in October 2021, which requires food firms to include full ingredient labelling on prepacked food for direct sale.
Natasha’s Law was named for Natasha Ednan-Laperhouse, who lost her life after suffering an allergic reaction to sesame seeds baked into the dough of a baguette. There was no allergy advise on the packaging of the sandwich she was eating.
Despite the spotlight on allergens that the creation of this new law created, only 37% of respondents to High Speed Training’s survey said the felt they are more aware of food-based allergens now than they were a year ago.
‘Work to be done’
Tash Blythe, food and drink learning designer at High Speed Training, said: “These results clearly show that there is still work to be done to educate both businesses and the general public on the importance of allergens and their clear labelling, and to help build the trust of customers and consumers.
“In the UK, an estimated two million people are living with a diagnosed food allergy, so it is vital that everyone is aware of the potential dangers of mislabelled products. We would urge all businesses and consumers to increase their knowledge of allergens and understand how to safely label and identify their presence in products.”
Meanwhile, Food Manufacture spoke to Natasha Allergy Research Foundation co-founder and Natasha’s Mother Nadim Laperouse in an exclusive podcast interview to discuss her hopes for, at the time, recently launched clinical trials exploring the use of food to build resistance to allergens.