In a concerning revelation, a recent spot check conducted by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards has exposed a stark compliance gap among businesses regarding allergen labelling, in direct violation of Natasha's Law.
Natasha's Law was introduced in October 2021 mandating comprehensive allergen and ingredient labelling for all food produced and pre-packed for direct sale.
However, out of the 100 sandwich shops, delis and bakeries surveyed across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay, it was found that more than 50% (56 out of the 100 surveyed) were failing to adhere to the regulations. The violations primarily involved the absence or insufficient labelling of allergens in the products sold.
Worryingly, 34 businesses were found to have sold items containing undeclared allergens, with inadequate or no labelling. The most prevalent allergen detected in 44% of the problematic samples was milk.
Fakir Osman, head of Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, commented:
"If you are a business who sells food it is vital that you have a thorough understanding of the changes in legislation and how it impacts on your business.
These changes to the law are recent and currently those businesses whose labelling has been found to be in breach of the new law will receive advice from Trading Standards Officers on how to ensure their products are compliant.
I advise that businesses read our guidance as the welfare of your customers and your business could depend on it."
In light of these disconcerting results, further sampling and assessments will be conducted later this year to ensure businesses are adhering to Natasha's Law and, more importantly, prioritising the safety and well-being of their customers.
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