The UK Food Information Amendment, also known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, is designed to protect allergy sufferers and give them confidence in the food they buy.
Natasha’s Law states that for all prepacked foods, the name of the food and all ingredients must be listed on the packaging with allergenic ingredients emphasised (for example in bold, italics or a different colour). These changes apply to businesses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since October 2021 and are also expected to come into force in Scotland in the near future.
Regardless of whether your food business operates in a country where Natasha's Law is in effect, comprehensive allergen management is crucial in order to keep your customers safe. With many moving parts involved in the food supply chain, many food business operators choose to automate processes to cut out mistakes that commonly occur when two or more systems try to integrate, avoiding the risk of human error that is common with manual data transfer between one stage of the food production process to the other.
Many food business operators find that a one-system solution including recipe analysis, label design and supplier management is invaluable to their business. This not only allows them to run an effective and efficient business, but also helps them to comply with food law. Software that has been developed specifically for the field of food labelling improves, automates and makes time consuming analysis more efficient and less susceptible to accidental human error.
A good software package should allow you complete a number of practices including:
- Automated food information: Using software that provides automated nutrition profile calculations including allergen information based on the ingredients, quantities and cooking methods, makes time consuming recipe analysis more efficient and less susceptible to accidental human error.
- Accurate nutrition facts data: Ensure the food labelling data that is appropriate for your geographic region is included in your chosen software. It is important to check if updates, revisions and new versions of the food data are supported and immediate. In addition, supplier data should be provided via a live product feed providing real-time and up-to-date product information directly from your suppliers anytime a product is changed or reformulated.
- Label maker: Help to comply with food law. Generate front-of-pack and back-of-pack label templates in multiple territory formats, as well as custom designs. Manage your labelling process in one place. Print with new dedicated hardware, or integrate with your existing system. All of this should be automated, so that if a supplier updates a food, it can feed out to the label directly without any human intervention.
- Printing solutions: In order to meet the new requirements for pre-packed for direct sale foods, it is recommended to share verified food label information from production sites to different locations in a read only format. Printing on site, facilitated by a separate tablet and bluetooth connected printer, minimises the risk of incorrect label information being displayed with a completely automated process, and is controlled at the point of production. Restricted access allows staff to select which product label and quantity are sent to the printer and reduces the risk of incorrect label values. For more information see: FSA technical guidance on food allergen labelling and information requirements
- Security and flexibility: A high level of security should be offered by your software provider. In advance of choosing your software, request information on the level of security provided. At a minimum, software should use encryption technology and data should be hosted on accredited, dedicated servers. Web based software is automatically backed up and updated as required and modern encryption technology makes most online software even more secure than local software, choosing the right software can make complying with your obligations under GDPR easy. The added benefit for a busy professional is unrestricted access to the software from any device in any location.
- Professional support: Support and after sale service is fundamental to the service provided by your software. Access to online learning, topic specific courses and guidance on usability and the best ways to use the program are signs of a software service that cares. Use these resources, running a business isn’t easy – make your service providers work for you.
How Nutritics can help
Nutritics is designed to to help you easily manage the various brands used across your business and help businesses deal with tricky situations like a last minute change of brand with a different allergen profile at the click of a button. With real time right click and ‘replace all’ functionality, you can swap brands across recipes with ease, ensuring confidence that the correct information, including ingredient lists with full allergen profile is available for your customers. Once the system is updated the information for the label is updated instantly.
Since Nutritics is a cloud based platform, printing labels is simple; you can print directly from the system to any printer you have available.
The Nutritics LabelMagic system enables you to share verified food label information from production sites to different locations in real time and a read only format. Printing on site is facilitated by a separate tablet and bluetooth connected printer, minimising the risk of incorrect label information being displayed with a completely automated process, controlled at the point of production.
Nutritics also provides professional training courses with certification to ensure all personnel are enabled to fulfil their responsibilities and provide safe food with accurate information to their customers.