Unfortunately, one of the primary concerns of any industry is that something will happen which will put unwanted media attention onto the said industry. For the food preparation industry, this came in the form of a 15-year-old child called Natasha, who died from eating a sandwich that contained something she was allergic to. Consequently, from October 2021, something called Natasha’s Law will come into place. This has been designed to hopefully protect as many people as possible from ever encountering this particular situation again, but it will change how the food industry does things.
What Are the Current Rules?
If we are going to understand exactly how this law will change things, we need to know what the current rules are. At the moment, food companies do not have a legal obligation to individually label every ingredient that comes in freshly made and ready to be sold food, specifically non-pre-packaged options.
Most reputable restaurants and places have trained their staff on allergen information, and are happy to dispense advice on different products according to what allergies may be in them. However, no one notified this child of the fact they were sesame seeds inside the sandwich that she was eating, and so owing to the sesame allergy, she unfortunately died.
The Planned Changes
What this does mean is that there will be a requirement from October 2021 to properly list all of the products contained inside a single piece of food. This means that things will have to change just a little bit.
Secret recipes may now become a thing of the past, as companies will be obligated to put everything inside the ingredients list for their products. In the past, where chefs may have introduced a pinch of something different to enhance the flavour and provide a subtle twist, they may now be unable to do so.
Transparency is no bad thing, but it does mean that people will have to be more careful about how they create products in the way that they advertise them. Businesses all now need to be incredibly upfront about what’s in every product, so this type of tragedy will never occur again. It’s important to print labels containing the exact information, as verbal communication is unreliable and may be misinterpreted.
The new law doesn’t necessarily affect people in a massive way, it simply requires a little bit more transparency, which is no bad thing.
In conclusion, the introduction of Natasha’s law in October 2021 will change the landscape of the food industry in a few subtle ways. We are all for transparency, we think it’s a good thing. Obviously, everybody is keen to make sure that a tragedy like the one that happened never happens again, because it was an understandably terrible loss of life from a very simple allergen mistake. Hopefully, the new rules will have to prevent this, and make sure that companies are more precise and cautious when it comes to how they promote food items.