Procurement will need to be “at the very heart” of a data revolution in the hospitality sector in response to customer demands and new UK law.
“Natasha’s Law”, which is due to come into effect on 1 October 2021, will require all caterers to provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on foods pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) on the premises in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The law comes as a result of the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperou in 2016, who suffered a fatal anaphylactic reaction after eating a sandwich containing sesame seeds bought from Pret a Manger.
Currently only foods which are packaged and are sold off-site, such as in a supermarket, have to label the ingredients.
David Read, chairman at foodservice procurement consultancy Prestige Purchasing, told SM the death of Ednan-Laperouse had been a “wake up call to the hospitality sector” and despite the ongoing Covid pandemic, firms were rising to the challenge to make the required changes.
Read added the process forms part of a “wider modernisation of supply” in the foodservice sector, and procurement will need to be “at the very heart of data revolution that will change the face of our supply chains”.
“The challenge is a considerable one however as 90% of food and drink retailing’s £30bn gross value add (GVA) happens through just 10 businesses, compared to hospitality where a similar GVA is spread over 186,000 businesses,” Read said.
“Consumer demand for more transparency on all aspects of food ingredients in hospitality is continuing to strengthen, not just around safety but also many aspects of sustainability, production standards, and animal welfare. Procurement will need to be at the very heart of a data revolution that will change the face of our supply chains in the years ahead.”
Tess Warnes, dietician at foodservice procurement consultancy allmanhall, said “now is the time for caterers to plan and get ready to ensure they have the necessary training, processes, technology and support in place” for the changes as a result of Natasha’s Law.
“It is important to understand which businesses and types of food will be affected, and whether – or how – the new legislation will affect you,” she said.
Food considered PPDS will include items that are put into packaging before being offered for sale and “cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging”, allmanhall said.
This would include items such as:
- Sandwiches placed into packaging by the food business and sold from the same premises
- Sandwiches placed into packaging for a school trip or sports event
- Foods packaged and then taken by the same operator to their market stall to sell
- Foods packed by a food business to be sold in its retail units located within the same building complex as the premises where the food was packed, such as a train station, hospital, university or holiday park
- Burgers or sausages made at a butcher’s, which are then prepacked to be sold.
According to the new rules, PPDS food will need to be fully labeled to include the name of the food and an ingredients list including allergenic ingredients that must be “emphasised every time they appear”, for example in bold, capital letters, contrasting colours or underlined.
Foodservice and catering operations should ensure labelling can be carried out in “the most accurate but time effective way” and they should consider the implications of labelling specific allergens in situations where there is any risk of cross-contamination, allmanhall added.
“Current law requires businesses to manage cross-contamination risks effectively but recognises that where risk cannot be removed it is acceptable to communicate this to consumers. A compliance and allergen audit may also be a consideration, once catering operations reopen,” the firm said.
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