Is your bakery ready for Natasha’s Law? If not, we can help.
Bakeries in the UK are bracing themselves for October 1st, the date on which Natasha’s Law comes into force in a bid to prevent harm to people with food allergies.
The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019, to give its official name, means that from this date, bakeries will have to display full ingredient and allergen labelling information on each and every item they sell that is pre-packed for direct sale.
The law is named after the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse in July 2016. The tragic teenager had a fatal allergic reaction on a holiday flight after buying a sandwich at Heathrow airport before take-off that she was assured contained no sesame. There was no printed allergen advice on the wrapper because the item was made on the premises, so not required by law.
Natasha’ family launched a campaign to get the law changed. The then minister of DEFRA, Michael Gove, promised very publicly that something would be done. After consulting with industry on a number of options, the government in England eventually came down in favour of the strictest choice and the Scottish administration soon followed suit.
This seems to have caught some in the baking businesses a bit by surprise for a number of reasons.
Bakery sector consultant and Independent Cybake Partner Raph Lennon, says: “After such a difficult and stressful year, updating labels and product information has not been at the forefront of bakers’ priorities. Reviewing recipes, chasing information from suppliers and creating label information all take time and resources. With staffing level being one of the main issues facing bakeries, compliance to Natasha’s Law is a challenge.”
Luckily, help is at hand. Cybake has provided a solution this problem since 2014, after our users first alerted us to the fact that their bakeries needed to comply with the EU Food Information Regulations which came into force that year.
While Pret a Manger, where Natasha bought her baguette, is now often cited in the media as the pioneer in this field, Cybake users had been able to print food info labels for items that they made in store and pre-packed for direct sale for two years before her fateful flight.
No need to re-enter data
Whatever the labeling solution you use, Cybake will do the hard part for you by working out the correct info to print on your labels in the first place.
With Cybake’s Infood technical module, there is no need to re-enter data into spreadsheets or another system to figure out your products’ allergen and nutritional info for your labels, tills, staff, or websites.
Instead, ingredient info for each of your products feeds directly into the module which calculates it all for you, saving huge amounts of time and effort. And when you swap/add/reduce an ingredient across a product or range of products, Cybake automatically reflects this change right across your recipes, production and allergen and nutritional info.
The need to go through recipe spreadsheets to recalculate the required data line by line is eliminated. Plus, my friendly support colleagues here at Cybake are on hand to help you with the process every step of the way.
So, what’s the general advice for bakeries who are struggling to meet the October 1st deadline?
Raph Lennon says: “Firstly, create a log of your raw materials and their ingredients – bakery ingredients are not straightforward. If your information starting point – i.e. your ingredients – is correct, everything else will be much easier. Also, check for hidden ingredients such as barley in beer, or soya in chocolate.
“Don’t ignore it and leave it till the last week of September – obtaining information from suppliers can be tricky and time consuming. And, finally, give us a shout – both Cybake and myself have years of experience in this field. You are not alone.”