Natasha’s Law – which requires clear labelling of food ingredients and allergens on labels – became law in October 2021. How does it affect your PTA fundraising barbecue, or the cake stall at your summer fete?
Ben Rayner, food hypersensitivity team leader at the Food Standards Agency, sets the record straight.
What kinds of food does Natasha's Law apply to?
The law applies to prepacked for direct sale (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. It is fully or partly enclosed by the packaging, cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging, and is ready to be sold or offered to the consumer. Examples of PPDS food include fruit pots, boxes of chips, packaged sandwiches or salad boxes.
If you’re not sure whether you are offering or selling PPDS food, you should use our allergen and ingredients food labelling decision tool. This quick and simple form will tell you what food you are providing and what rules apply.
If a PTA receives donations of home-baked foods such as cakes for a bake sale, should they request a full list of ingredients?
If your PTA is selling food at a community or charity event, it is unlikely you would need to register as a food business unless this is a regular or organised activity. If you do not need to be registered, you are not legally required to provide information for consumers about allergens present in the food. However, we recommend that anyone serving food provides consumers with as much information as possible about allergens, so people can make safe choices.
If the PTA is registered as a food business, they must label any PPDS food they provide or sell with a full list of ingredients with any of the 14 major allergens emphasised in the list.
If you are unsure if your activity should be registered as a food business, contact your Local Authority who can advise and provide specific food hygiene and allergen advice.
If donated food items arrive in a sealed plastic container but are put out for sale with lids removed, does this constitute the items being ‘prepacked’?
No. At the time the items were offered to consumers, they could be altered without the need to open any packaging – they are therefore not prepacked.
If a PTA is holding a barbecue and cooking burgers and sausages on site, does it have to display full allergen information?
You’re not legally required to provide information about allergens unless your activity is registered as a food business. Unwrapped food served from a barbecue would be considered non-prepacked food. Please note that if you are registered as a food business, you must provide allergen information in some form, whether orally or in writing.
We encourage organisations to provide details of the relevant 14 allergens as best practice. This will allow people with food allergies to make safe food choices.
If a PTA hires an external food supplier such as an ice-cream van or food truck, does Natasha's Law apply, and who is responsible for compliance?
Whether Natasha’s Law applies to the ice-cream van or food truck depends on whether they are selling PPDS food. Any registered food business who offers or sells PPDS food to consumers is responsible for compliance with the law.
If full labelling isn't required by law, what can PTAs do to help allergy sufferers when it comes to the sale of food?
An estimated two million people in the UK have food allergies, and research shows that children and young people are at a higher risk of experiencing food allergy reactions. The more information you can provide about the food you serve, the more you help to reduce that risk.
I would encourage anyone serving food to consumers to give them as much information as possible about allergens to allow them to make safe and informed choices about what to eat.
The FSA provides free online food allergy training where you can learn more about managing allergens in a kitchen and how to cater for allergen information requirements.
What are the 14 allergens that require labelling by food law?
The 14 allergens required to be labelled by food law are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites (if they are at a concentration of more than ten parts per million) and tree nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios and macadamia nuts).
For more information on Natasha's Law, visit the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation.
Read our catering FAQs
Run a successful family barbecue
Advice on barbecue food safety
The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.