Natasha’s Law: Tragic death of teenage girl puts new food packaging rules into effect

New food packaging rules are due to take effect in response to the tragic death of a teenager after suffering an allergic reaction to a store-bought baguette.

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse from London died in 2016 after suffering anaphylactic shock minutes after taking off from a British Airways flight to France after buying a sandwich at a Pret-A-Manger branch at Heathrow Airport .

Under the legislation in force at the time, the sandwich was considered “prepackaged for direct sale”, meaning it did not need to be labeled to indicate the presence of allergens.

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Natasha’s law, which came into effect on Friday, October 1, now requires that the labels on all direct-sale prepackaged products include a complete list of ingredients with the top 14 allergens highlighted in the list.

Prepackaged foods for direct sale (PPDS) may include the following:

  • sandwiches and baked goods that are packaged on site before a consumer selects or orders them
  • fast food packaged before ordering, such as a burger under a hot lamp where food cannot be changed without opening the packaging
  • on-site prepackaged products ready for sale, such as pizzas, roast chicken, salads and pasta jars
  • hamburgers and sausages prepackaged by an on-site butcher ready to be sold to consumers
  • samples of cookies given to consumers free of charge and packaged on site
  • food packaged and then sold elsewhere by the same operator on a market stall or on a mobile site
  • PPDS foods provided in schools, nursing homes or hospitals and other similar places will also need to be labeled.

The new law will be enforced by Middlesbrough Council public protection officers with the full support of Mayor Andy Preston.

Judith Hedgley, Public Protection Officer at Middlesbrough Council, said: “We welcome this change in law as it will improve food standards in food businesses.

“Our agents are available to assist businesses with this change in legislation and as part of our inspection regime, we will verify allergen labeling to ensure compliance.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston added: “Natasha’s case was a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided so easily.

“This much-needed legislation will help ensure that this never happens again and will reassure businesses as well as the public.”

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