Responding to the announcement from the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove MP, CIEH has welcomed the Government’s decisive action but raised concerns about potential unintended consequences.
The new legislation, requiring food businesses to list all ingredients on pre-packaged food, will come in to force in summer 2021, and will cover England and Northern Ireland.
Under current rules, foods prepacked for sale on the premises are not required to display allergen information on the package.
The move to tighten up rules around allergen display followed the death in 2016 of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse Who died of anaphylaxis following an allergic reaction to a baguette from Pret a Manger.
Kate Thompson, Wales Director at CIEH, said:
“We are pleased that the Government is moving quickly on this and will put legislation before Parliament this summer.
However, although we recognise there is significant public concern around this matter, and there is a strong wish for full labelling from many sectors, we urge caution.
What impact will the new requirements have on businesses? How will the Government negate the impact this will have on small, community, and voluntary sector, businesses that form a key part of our social economy?
We are also concerned that full ingredients labelling will discourage those with food allergies from discussing their dietary requirements with caterers. Good communication is essential if you are an allergy sufferer. Caterers need to take extra precautions to keep you safe. Preventing accidental contamination with allergens is essential.
The move to address loopholes in allergen labelling is admirable, but we call on the Government to consider the impact of its proposals on personal responsibility, and on businesses.”