On October 1st Natasha’s Law came into effect, this legislation has meant PPDS food requires clear labelling stating the allergens in an emphasised text, the name of the product, and an ingredients list. This is a huge step forward within the hospitality and food sector, but are there more legislation to be looking out for?
The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector) (England) Regulations 2021
In April 2022, out-of-home (OOH) mandatory calorie labelling will begin, as a part of the governments “Tackling Obesity” initiative.
Calorie labelling will be required on all items which are prepared and sold for immediate consumption. This will affect large businesses (more than 250 employees) and businesses that are a part of franchise models (with 250 employees or greater). These businesses will be required to calculate the calorie content per portion of the food or drink item sold, alongside stating the standard calories per portion to the consumer.
Calorie information needs to be displayed across all available menus within a visible position. The calories stated can reflect the portion of food served or the entirety of the meal expected to be eaten. On the menus, the statement “adults need around 2,000 kcal a day” should be visible and in a legible format.
Owen Carey suffered from a number of allergies his whole life, and on the 22nd of April 2017, he sadly died from a huge anaphylactic reaction to the food he was served in a restaurant.
His family set up a campaign in the hopes to change the law on how allergy information is displayed and given in eateries within the UK. The campaign aims to change labelling and provide more training to staff ensuring customers are fully aware of the allergens within meals and prevent any future deaths for individuals suffering from food allergies.
In July 2021 their petition received 10,000 signatures and so the Government were obliged to respond to it. The petition still needs more signatures so that Government is obliged to consider Owen’s Law for a debate in parliament. Additionally, communication with FSA (Food Standards Agency) is ongoing for the evidence they require before they can recommend the law to the Government.
The implementation of Natasha’s Law shows that there is positive change within the UK’s allergen laws, however, there is still room for improvement as there are flaws to them and can be considered outdated. Owen’s Law aims to build upon Natasha’s Law so that both PPDS food and eating in restaurants ensures protection to allergy sufferers. The campaign states that “Owen’s family wants to persuade the industry, the Foods Standards Agency and the Government that to make such changes is of little cost, but immeasurable benefit to those whose lives are blighted by allergies and anaphylaxis.”
Titanium Dioxide Ban
Titanium Dioxide is used as a colourant in several food products, such as chewing gum, pastries, food supplements, soups and broths.
The Member States approved the Europeans Commission’s proposal to ban the use of Titanium Dioxide (E171) as a food additive from 2022.
This has been decided based upon the scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority, which came to the conclusion that E171 could no longer be considered as safe used as a food additive, this is due to the concerns that genotoxicity could not be ruled out.
If the Council or European Parliament do not object, then this will be in full force at the beginning of 2022. A 6-month phasing out period will begin and then a full ban will apply to all food products.
Plastic Packaging Tax
From April 2022, a new tax on plastic packaging (PPT) will be put in place in the UK. The tax aims to urge businesses to use recycled plastic, in the hope of diverting plastic from landfills and incineration. This legislation is a part of The Finance Bill 2021.
The tax will cost £200 per tonne of packaging with less than 30% of recycled plastic. The tax will provide an economic incentive to make the switch the recycled plastic packaging.
It is expected that an estimated 20,000 producers and importers of plastic packaging will be impacted.
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