Allergen laws in the UK in 2021: What You Need to Know

1 April 2021

Current allergen law

Currently, PPDS foods are not required to contain information on allergens, as it is expected that the customer can speak with the person who made the product for this information or request to see a ingredient list. This has led people mistakenly assuming that the food does not contain any allergens.

Until Natasha’s Law comes into effect on October 1st 2021, the current EU regulations remain in place.

  • Food prepared for sale on the same site as the preparation does not need to be labelled individually
  • Information for food made on-site for sale on-site needs to be available via a reference menu or some other sort of signage.
  • Pre-packed food and and drink which has been prepared off-site needs to be labelled with an ingredients list

How will Natasha’s Law affect these allergen laws?

Natasha’s Law covers any business that is preparing, packing and selling food from the same premises, or food that is packed centrally and sold from a mobile van or or food stand belonging to the same business. The new rules originally only applied to businesses in England, though Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all recently moved to adopt Natasha’s Law – All food businesses in the UK need to be compliant by the deadline.

Under Natasha’s Law, all PPDS products will need to clearly display the name of the food and a full list of all ingredients. Any allergens must be highlighted within the ingredients list, for example by printing them in bold or a different colour. It won’t be acceptable just to have a list of allergens after October, 2021.

Allergen information

There are 14 allergens that need to be highlighted. (Some people may be allergic to other ingredients that do not need mandatory highlighting but these are intended to be identifiable from the ingredient list.) The allergens are:

  • Celery
  • Cereals containing gluten
  • Crustaceans
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs
  • Mustard
  • Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soya
  • Sulphur dioxide (sometimes known as sulphites)

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Businesses failing to follow the new rules could face a fine of up to £5,000 per offence.