Eight in 10 food business owners say they are unprepared for new food safety legislation that is due to come into effect in October.
Experts have said that lack of awareness within the industry about Natasha’s Law, will require all pre-packaged foods in the UK to carry allergy information, is “worrying.”
The legislation was put forward following the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered a fatal allergic reaction from a Pret A Manger sandwich.
She fell ill after eating the sandwich at Heathrow airport and collapsed on a flight to Nice on July 17 2016.
Her parents campaigned for a change in the law around food labelling and in June 2019 the Government announced that Natasha’s Law would come into effect from October 2021.
The legislation will require food businesses to provide full ingredient lists and allergen information on foods pre-packaged for sale in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
But one month out from the law’s introduction on October 1, research commissioned by global standards organisation GS1 UK, found that 40% of businesses had not heard of Natasha’s Law.
Around half of food franchise employees (48%) in small independent businesses had heard of Natasha’s Law, according to the study.
The analysis showed that eight in 10 felt unprepared for the new regulations coming into effect, despite 90% saying they have received plenty of information about the new law.
Henry Dimbleby MBE, author of the National Food Strategy said: “Natasha’s Law represents a hugely positive, yet complex transformation for the food sector, one fraught with risk.
“It is worrying that the awareness of the changes is inconsistent, but not particularly surprising after everything the sector has had thrown at it over the last 18 months.
“It’s therefore fantastic to see a data solution that will help companies, particularly smaller companies, make the required changes while reducing both bureaucracy and the opportunities for error.”
There were 500 food industry employers and employees surveyed for the poll.