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Hospitality and food retail industry takes major steps forward in food safety

The food industry is making inroads to meeting requirements that will come into effect with Natasha’s Law next October, but there’s still work to be done, according to a new report by Brother UK.

·       Food retailers agree Natasha’s Law will make customers feel safer and ingredients clearer

·       Almost seven in ten businesses have already trained some staff to meet new regulations

·       Yet only 20% say they’re completely prepared for Natasha’s Law, with 47% lacking an adequate labelling solution

The food industry is taking strides forward in preparing to meet the incoming requirements of Natasha’s Law, however there are signs businesses could be left at risk of non-compliance, finds a recent report from Brother UK, the business technology solutions provider.

Research of 100 food retailers that will be affected when the regulation amendment comes into force has found that Natasha’s Law has been received positively by the industry. 100% of businesses agreed it will make people with food allergies feel safer buying Pre-Packed for Direct Sales (PPDS) foods and almost all (99%) suggested customers will now find it easier to see the ingredients in packaged products.

Encouragingly 94% of food retailers said their business takes allergens very seriously, while almost seven in ten (69%) have already offered staff some training on Natasha’s Law specifically.

Despite the progress made by the sector, the results show there’s still some way to go to ensure all businesses affected by the amendment will be compliant by October 2021.

Just one in five (20%) stated they are completely prepared to meet the requirements of the incoming law, lowering to only one in ten (13%) for smaller businesses*.

Almost half of all respondents (47%) revealed they don’t have adequate labelling solutions in place to address Natasha’s Law. Of those that do have labelling systems in their kitchens, close to a third (32%) still use handwritten labels.

Almost a quarter of businesses (23%) also felt they needed more information on the requirements of the regulation to feel fully informed.

Simon Brennan, senior end user client manager – Speciality Print Solutions at Brother, said: “Natasha’s Law is going to transform food labelling for the better, and it’s encouraging to see that businesses are taking this seriously, with focused training and implementation already underway in many.

“That said, the consequences of not meeting the requirements are high, with possible fines, reputational damage and risk to customer safety, so it’s vital food retailers have appropriate solutions and processes in place as soon as possible.

“An essential part of this will be equipping staff with suitable intelligent labelling tools. Handwritten labels are liable to errors and can cause issues with legibility, so choosing a digital solution not only streamlines processes, it makes them safer, protecting businesses and, ultimately, customers.”

The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019, commonly known as Natasha’s Law will come into force across England in October 2021. Under the new law, all PPDS products will have to be labelled to make clear what the name of the food is and provide a full list of ingredients, with all allergens emphasised.

Working with experts from NT Assure, Nutritics and Labelling Solutions, Brother has created an in-depth guide to help food businesses get up to speed with the new legislation and provides practical tips on achieving compliance. Download a free copy here: www.brother.co.uk/natashas-law

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