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As of the 1st of October, a new piece of legislation, Natasha’s Law, has been put in place for all food retailers in the UK.

This legislation is to ensure that all food retailers producing food on their premises and selling pre-packaged food, are to clearly display all ingredients and allergen information on every product.

This may come as a surprise, but before October the 1st, the need to show allergen and ingredient information on these products was not a necessity.

As a result, those unfortunate enough to live with food related allergies would be left in the dark as to what was safe to eat.

Whereas now, its obligatory to emphasise all ingredients and the 14 major allergen types on all food products. So, what brought about this legislation and what does it mean for legal cases involving food?


Natasha’s Story

The inception of this new law was born out of a truly saddening story. A story that could have easily been avoided had Natasha’s Law been in place.

In 2016, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died after suffering an anaphylactic reaction from eating a baguette containing sesame seeds. The baguette was produced and sold by the well-known café chain, Pret A Manger.

Nut allergies are notorious for posing lethal consequences for a small part of the population. Shockingly, with no specific allergen information on the baguette’s packaging, Natasha had no way of knowing the potential danger she was about to encounter.

In the days following this awful occurrence, Pret A Manger put themselves forward to advocate serious legislative change. Although arguably an attempt to manage the brand’s reputation, this company were not the only offenders. The issue remained industry wide.

It’s clear that the legal loophole here was at fault for Natasha’s death, so steps had to be taken to ensure something like this couldn’t happen again.


The Implementation of Natasha’s Law

Dr Sean Cummings, the Coroner assigned to this case, quite rightly deemed the shortcomings that lead to Natasha’s death totally avoidable, adding that future deaths like this could occur if actions were not taken.

As a result, the Secretary of State for Environmental, Food and Rural affairs at the time, Michael Gove, announced a consultation for a new law in January 2019.

In September of 2019, Natasha’s story was relayed in parliament, and the movement for new legislation, titled Natasha’s Law, was enacted.

Fast forward to October this year and Natasha’s Law came into force. The law brings greater transparency to what people are buying and eating, forcing a revaluation on the required standard for food companies in the UK.

Interestingly, during the legislative process research showed that 88% of the public fully supported the implementation of Natasha’s Law, highlighting significant public interest and the desire for change.


How Will Natasha’s Law Affect Legal Cases in the Future?

Natasha’s Law is legally enforced by local environmental health services, with compliance monitoring from now on during regular inspections.

It is vital that Natasha’s Law compliance is met with all businesses selling food prepared on sight or pre-packed food for direct sale (PPDS), as failure to do so can be met with irreparable damage.

While Pret A Manger is a very large company and still going strong following the aftermath of this case, it did suffer significant reputational damage.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when considering the ramifications of non-compliance. Should a health inspector see any issues with food packaging, businesses could be met with fines of up to £5,000 per instance of non-compliance.

For the likes of Pret A Manger, these fines, combined with the reputational damage pose a nasty sting to operations. For smaller businesses, fines such as these could prove incredibly costly.


Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim?

Now that Natahsa’s Law is active, similar cases can be avoided. However, there is always a chance that where or who you purchase food from do not fully comply with regulations.

If you or someone you love has fallen ill or been subjected to injury as a result of negligence such as this, you could be entitled to compensation. Our personal injury solicitors are at hand to discuss your experiences, offer expert opinion and work on a no win, no fee basis.

Contact us today and let’s work together to get the justice you may well deserve. 


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