The government has proposed tougher food labelling laws to protect the two million food allergy sufferers across the country.

If the proposals go through, all packaged foods may be required to have a full list of ingredients.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a consultation into food labelling. They will particularly focus on foods that are made, packaged and sold in the same stores.

The move follows the death of Fulham teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who suffered an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette in 2016.

FILE - This Tuesday, May 29, 2018 file photo shows an exterior view of a branch of Pret A Manger, in London. British restaurant chain Pret a Manger on Sunday, Oct. 7 says a second customer died after eating a sandwich containing an allergen that was not noted on the label. The coffee-and-sandwich business has promised to improve its labeling following criticism at an inquest into the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in 2016 after eating a Pret baguette that contained traces of sesame. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, file)
An exterior view of a branch of Pret A Manger, in London. Credit: AP Photo / Matt Dunham

When buying the baguette at Heathrow airport, Natasha was assured it was safe to eat despite the lack of specific allergen information on the packaging.  However, the sandwich contained undisclosed sesame seeds and she went into cardiac arrest on her flight to Nice.

Natasha’s parents, Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse, made a statement on Twitter:

Environment Secretary Michael Gove wants to pay tribute to Natasha’s parents inspirational work by delivering “Natasha’s Law”.

In its effort to safeguard British consumers, DEFRA will ask businesses and allergy sufferers to choose between four options: full ingredient listing, allergen-only labelling, ‘ask the staff’ labels, or promoting ‘best practice around communicating allergen information to consumers’.

The consultation looks to protect two million food allergy sufferers across the UK and ensure that they regain confidence in the safety of their food.


Feature photo by Brandee via Flickr