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Industry

The implications of new labelling law

A welcome new law has been laid in front of UK Parliament meaning all pre-packed food will have to include a full list of ingredients. However, concerns have been raised over the implications this will have on smaller businesses and the way they produce labels.

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New laws on food labelling could pose major implications to smaller businesses

At the beginning of the year, Print Monthly reported on a government consultation into current food label laws after two people died from allergic reactions after eating pre-packaged food.

The parents of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a baguette purchased at Pret a Manger, campaigned for a change to rules which stated that food prepared on the same premises in which it is sold does not need to display information about allergens.

Michael Gove, who was then secretary for environment, food and rural affairs, announced in June 2019 that new legislation known as ‘Natasha’s Law’ would be brought forward to strengthen allergen labelling rules.

...many of our clients […] are seeking guidance on the most effective processes to produce labels which are accurate, available and compliant

While the new law has been welcomed widely by consumers as a necessary step to protect allergy sufferers from further attacks, the new regulations will no doubt create major implications for smaller businesses which prepare food on-site.

Ken Moir, vice president of marketing at NiceLabel, comments: “Businesses have been aware of this proposed law change for some time, and many of our clients – particularly those which prepare sandwiches or salads on site in the UK – are seeking guidance on the most effective processes to produce labels which are accurate, available and compliant.”

Moir explains that while the larger high street brands are likely to have resources to either implement a solution themselves or work with a software partner, this is much harder for smaller retailers without sophisticated IT departments and the resources needed to prepare.

From October 2021, all businesses which pre-package food to be sold on-site will need to include full ingredients on the labelling

“The problem with multiple label templates is that you have to manage them all for every stock keeping unit (SKU),” Moir continues, adding: “We advocate a different approach – one label template with different “records” to match each SKU. This can all be managed simply in an excel spreadsheet rather than a complicated database.”

In terms of how the new regulation will affect the day-to-day running of smaller businesses, Moir explains that this is dependent on the type of label solution adopted. As well as understanding the law in order to offer advice to those affected, staff will need to be trained and label data will need to be maintained and checked for accuracy.

Having just one template with “records” that can be imputed from an excel spreadsheet and managed in a label management system is a much simpler process than others

Moir adds: “Having just one template with “records” that can be imputed from an excel spreadsheet and managed in a label management system is a much simpler process than others. Some allergens need to be highlighted, which means they need to be created in a graphic before the label gets sent to the printer.

“This can be complex and time-consuming unless the business has deployed a modern label management solution. We have an out-of-the box cloud solution that makes it easy for business of any size to comply in a matter of hours.”

This week, the law was laid in front of Parliament meaning that businesses which pre-package food that is sold on-site will have to publish a full list of ingredients from October 2021.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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