As a parent with a child that suffers from allergies, I like to know what is in the food that I am feeding my family. With the new allergen labelling law called Natasha’s Law, it will now be easier for me to know if a product contains any allergens.
Let me give you a little background on how the recent law came into place. Natasha’s Law is named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died from an allergic reaction to sesame seeds that were in a pre-packaged sandwich she purchased. Her parents have been campaigning for this law since her death in 2016. The new labeling law will require food manufacturers to list all allergens on food labels so that consumers can make informed decisions about what they are eating. This is good news for everyone who suffers from allergies.
PTA fundraisers are a great way for the school and neighbouring community to get together and have fun while raising money in support of said school. But with this new allergen labelling law that took effect on 1st October 2021, will PTAs be forced to make changes? In this blog post, we'll explore how Natasha's Law could impact your favourite PTA events…stay tuned!
How does it impact your PTA events
Under this new law, all food outlets are required to provide full ingredient lists with clear allergens labelling on pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) foods.
You might be thinking what counts as PPDS food?
You'll find these items are packaged at the same place they're offered or sold to consumers in their packaging before it's ordered or selected--for example sandwiches and bakery products that have been packed on site.
They must now be clearly labelled with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients emphasised (for example in bold, italics or a different colour).
Natasha's Law applies to registered food businesses. If your activity does not need to be registered as a food business then legally you do not have to provide information about allergens present in the foods you are serving or selling.
However, in order to provide the most accurate information, we recommend that you mention any and all allergens orally or on paper to reassure the attendees of your events. The more specific details offered about what’s in the food you’re serving allows them to make safe choices which can only make their lives easier!
What are the benefits of following this law
Parents with children that have food allergies are often left wondering whether the school or PTA will have safe foods for their children to enjoy.
Allergy UK revealed that in the UK, 40% of children have been diagnosed with an allergy, equating to one in every thirteen children or approximately two in every classroom. Many foods contain hidden allergens and the lack of declaring these allergens can cause some children to miss out on important social experiences. When parents know what ingredients are in foods at school events, they can feel relieved that the children will be safe from food allergies while having fun!
Resources to help you implement the guidelines in Natasha's Law
We understand that many PTAs may have moved to pre-packaging many items in an effort to keep things Covid-Safe. Let’s face it we have all made the cutest sweet cones, hot chocolate cones, tuck shop sweets or individually wrapped cakes to wow and impress at our fundraisers!
Now introduce Natasha’s law to the mix of event planning...this is a lot to take in and can become quite confusing if you don’t have all of the details you need to make sure you’re compliant at all of your events.
In best practice for ‘pre-packaged’ foods you can highlight on each item if they contain any of the 14 allergens. For ‘loose’ foods, simply have the the ingredients available highlighting any of the 14 allergens the loose food contains.
The 14 allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts).
Here are several resources that you can dive into to help you understand more about Natasha’s Law.
Allergen guidance for food businesses
We hope this helps you when considering your food choices for your events going forward. Now ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ with your event planning! :)
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