New allergen rules have been proposed, including listing all ingredients and allergens on foods which are prepacked for direct sale.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Food Standards Agency (FSA) have launched a nine-week consultation this morning on four options, ranging from the promotion of best practice with no change in the law to the full labelling of products.
The rules would apply to all foods packed on the same premises from which they are being sold, before they are offered for sale. This would include those made onsite, before being placed on a shelf for sale.
FSA chairman, Heather Hancock said: "It's really important that people take this opportunity to have their say, especially those living with a food allergy or intolerance. Clear, accurate and visible allergen labelling is vital to protect the thousands of people at risk of allergic reactions, when buying their daily sandwich, salad or snack to eat on the go.
Food businesses have a duty to protect people with food allergies and we welcome the real progress that many have made. This review is looking at whether businesses should do more to keep their customers safe. We all deserve food we can trust, and I encourage everyone to let their voices be heard."
Secretary of state Michael Gove pledged to take action following the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who had suffered an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette in 2016. The coroner reported that Pret's allergy labelling had been "inadequate".
After meeting with the teenager's parents last year, Gove had said: "Natasha's parents have suffered a terrible loss and yet have shown such tremendous strength and grace in their push for change. It was an honour to meet them.
"Since receiving the coroner's report, we have been working at pace with the Food Standards Agency and businesses to review the current allergen labelling rules. We are aiming to bring forward concrete proposals to change the law around the turn of the year.
"I also want to make clear that businesses do not need to wait for the law to change to do the right thing. They should be doing all they can now to make sure consumers have the information they need to stay safe."
The consultation can be found here.Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).