Food label laws are to be strengthened under new proposals to ensure deaths from allergens are avoided in the future.
The new legislation means all packaged food will be required by law to list all of the ingredients.
At present, pubs and other food outlets do not have to list ingredients of items that are sold on the premises in packaged format.
But following the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who ate a Pret A Manager sandwich as she was unaware it contained sesame seeds which she was allergic to, there have been calls to clarify what specifically is in packaged food.
The government has now proposed four options for labelling food made on-site and packaged:
- Full ingredient list labelling
- Allergen only labelling
- Labelling dubbed ‘ask the staff’ for more information
It is hoped the move will prevent deaths like Natasha’s. An inquest into her death suggested she was ‘reassured’ by the packaging of the Pret sandwich, as it contained no information about the allergen in the food.
Her parents are hoping that ‘full labelling’ will become the default option and make the UK a world leader in allergen labelling.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We want to ensure that labels are clearer and that the rules for businesses are more consistent – so that allergy sufferers in this country can have confidence in the safety of their food.
“Many businesses are already bringing changes on board independently, and in the meantime they should continue doing all they can to give consumers the information they need.”
Allergy UK chief executive Carla Jones said: “The broader food industry needs to do more than just the bare minimum when it comes to catering for the allergic community. We encourage all those living with allergies to engage with this consultation to ensure their views on this important issue are heard.”