Last reviewed 19 June 2020

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has updated its technical guidance on allergens following changes to food allergen labelling laws which come into effect from October 2021.

The FSA changes relate to food which is pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) to customers, ie food packaged onsite by a business before a customer selects or orders it from the same premises.

The changes, which are now enshrined in legislation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will come into effect from 1 October 2021.

The FSA’s updated technical guidance reflects the legislative changes and will help businesses and enforcement authorities understand the new requirements.

The changes were introduced after an earlier UK-wide consultation following the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse as a result of an allergic reaction to sesame in a baguette she had eaten, bought from a Pret a Manger outlet at Heathrow airport.

The changes mean that PPDS food will be required to have a label with an ingredients list and the allergens contained emphasised on the list.

This brings the way allergen information is provided for it in line with other prepacked food, in order to reduce consumer confusion.

The FSA will be engaging with industry and enforcement authorities over the coming months to raise awareness with business as they work towards implementing the new requirements that come into effect later next year.

Launching the new guidance, the FSA’s Chief Executive, Emily Miles, said, “Consistent and accurate labelling can be life-saving for those living with a food allergy or hypersensitivity. These new measures are vital as they provide information to hypersensitive consumers in a form that is familiar and convenient for them.

“Food businesses and enforcement authorities need to be ready for the rules coming into effect in October 2021 which the updated technical guidance on food allergen labelling will help them to do.”

The updated technical guidance can be accessed via the FSA website.