From 1st of October 2021, requirements for labelling of prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) food changed in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Businesses that produce PPDS food must now label it with the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients emphasised within the list.
What is PPDS food?
PPDS food is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to consumers and is in this packaging before it is ordered or selected. PPDS food can include the following:
Sandwiches and bakery products which are packed on site before a consumer selects or orders them.
Fast food packed before it is ordered, such as a burger under a hot lamp where the food cannot be altered without opening the packaging.
Products which are pre-packaged on site ready for sale, such as pizzas, rotisserie chicken, salads and pasta pots.
Burgers and sausages pre-packaged by a butcher on the premises ready for sale to consumers.
Samples of cookies given to consumers for free which were packed on site.
Foods packaged and then sold elsewhere by the same operator at a market stall or mobile site.
What should a label show?
The label needs to show the name of the food and the ingredients list with the 14 allergens required to be declared by law emphasised within it.
The 14 allergens are:
Cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats)
Crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters)
Molluscs (such as mussels and oysters)
Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if the sulphur dioxide and sulphites are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million)
Tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, and macadamia nuts)
If there is the potential for cross contamination, or for the PPDS food to be affected by an allergen that is not within the ingredients, then labelling must include a warning statement such as ‘May contain ‘INSERT ALLERGEN’ or ‘Not suitable for someone with a ‘INSERT ALLERGEN’ allergy’.
Why were the changes made?
These changes were introduced following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse on the 17 July 2016, from anaphylaxis caused by a severe allergic reaction after eating a baguette that contained sesame seeds baked into the dough.
At the time of Natasha’s death food labelling of PPDS was not required. She bought the pre-packaged baguette at Heathrow Airport before boarding a flight. The labelling of the baguette contained partial ingredient information, but as there was no allergen information present, Natasha mistakenly believed that the baguette was safe for her to eat.
What does this mean for employers who aren’t in the food business industry?
While employers who are not in the food business industry do not need to do anything, those who use external suppliers, for onsite or for event catering for example, should carry out due diligence checks as part of their routine contractor monitoring procedures, to ensure suppliers are aware of the changes, and have taken steps to comply with the law.
The Food Standards Agency states that PPDS food provided in schools, care homes or hospitals and other similar settings will also require labelling.