Understanding food safety and allergens

Understanding food safety and allergens

In July 2016, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse bought an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette from Pret a Manger in Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport. Halfway through her flight, Natasha developed a severe allergic reaction to the baguette. Tragically, Natasha died later the same day from the reaction.

The inquest that followed found that sesame, an ingredient Natasha was severely allergic to,  was not listed as an ingredient on the baguette. As a result of these events, in September of this year, the government announced its intention to introduce a new law to tighten food safety, including labelling requirements. “Natasha’s Law” will come into effect on 1 October 2021.

At this moment in time, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold — known as foods ‘pre-packaged for direct sale’ (PPDS) — does not need to display allergen information on the label. But when Natasha’s Law comes into force, all food businesses in England (and later, in the UK), will need to list all the ingredients of food PPDS.

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To help you understand current food safety requirements, and prepare in advance of Natasha’s Law, our Fizz Academy team recently hosted a 30-minute webinar on the topic of food safety and allergens.

The recording of the webinar is now available for you to watch at no cost here.

What is the Fizz Academy?

The Fizz Academy is run by our in-house team and delivers training for brand ambassadors working for Costco vendors. It also offers food safety courses for anyone working in catering, hospitality and manufacturing who prepares, cooks, serves or produces food.

The courses help employees understand the importance of food hygiene — including the systems, techniques and procedures involved — and develop confidence and expertise in delivering food safely.

If you are in any way involved with a food business, our webinar could help you with a topline discussion about the issues that you and your staff need to understand when it comes to food safety and allergens. Here are some of the subjects covered in the webinar…

      • Prevalence of allergies. Did you know that 1 in 3 people will develop allergies at some point during their life? That’s approximately 2.5 billion people worldwide.
      • Types of allergenic hazards. The webinar includes an overview of the 14 major food allergens. Certain well-known allergenic ingredients are in more foods than others and thus pose the biggest risk to consumers. Some allergens—like sulphur dioxide and oats—are less well known and tend not to raise a red flag.
      • Symptoms of an allergic reaction. The most common type of allergic reaction to food is an “IgE-mediated food allergy”, for which symptoms include things like dizziness, itching in the mouth and sneezing. Others develop a severe, life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.
      • Food labelling for ingredients and allergens. Under Natasha’s Law, foods pre-packed for direct sale must have a full ingredients list and allergenic ingredients must be emphasised wherever they appear.
      • Definitions. In the webinar, we explain what qualifies as ‘pre-packed for direct sale’ and how to follow food labelling rules.
      • Controlling allergenic hazards. The Fizz Academy team also explain how to keep your customers safe by training staff, how to make it easy for customers to ask about allergens, and more.

‘Natasha’s Law’ will help protect allergy sufferers and make it easier for them to identify safe foods. But this new legislation brings new and legally binding requirements to food businesses which need to be understood and acted upon before the 1st of October 2021. For some businesses, the necessary changes are substantial and will take time to put in place. So, it’s important to act now. Watch the recording of our webinar for guidance.

Fizz Academy webinar

Image credit: Lek via Adobe Stock