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Allergen Labelling - What food businesses need to know about Natasha's Law

The way food businesses in the UK must provide allergen labelling information for PPDS food will change in 2021. Start to prepare now!
23rd Nov 2020

New UK food labelling requirements 

The new allergen labelling requirements will apply to a category of food called prepacked for direct sale (PPDS Foods). 

The way food businesses in the UK must provide allergen labelling information for PPDS food will change in 2021. These changes will provide essential information to help people with a food allergy or intolerance to make safe choices when buying PPDS food. 

How the changes will apply 

Currently, the law does not require PPDS food to carry allergen information on the packaging. From 1 October 2021, PPDS food will need to have a label with a full ingredients list with allergenic ingredients emphasised within it. The new PPDS food rules should not change consumers and businesses having conversations about allergens. 

Outline of the new PPDS labelling rules 

According to the new rules, PPDS food will have to clearly display the following information on the packaging: 
  • name of the food 
  • full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients emphasised (for example in bold, italics or a different colour) 

When the changes will apply 

The changes will apply from 1 October 2021, to allow food businesses time to prepare for compliance with the new rules. The legislative changes have been introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Similar changes are expected to be introduced in Scotland by Food Standards Scotland. 

What are Pre-packed for Direct Sale (PPDS) Foods? 

They are foods which are packaged at the same place they are offered to consumers. The food will be presented in the packaging before it is ordered or selected. They can include food that customers select themselves, as well as pre-wrapped products kept behind a counter. It can also include some food sold at mobile or temporary outlets. 

Example of PPDS food 
A packaged sandwich or salad made by staff earlier in the day and placed on a shelf for purchase. 

Prepacked for direct sale food 

Prepacked for direct sale food is determined by three criteria: 
  • when it is packaged 
  • where it is packaged 
  • how it is packaged 

Each of these criteria has to be met for food to be classed as prepacked for direct sale and for the new labelling requirements to apply. 

When it is packaged 

Prepacked for direct sale food is packaged before the consumer selects or orders it. 

Any food that is not in packaging when it is ordered, or is loose and is packaged after being ordered, is not included. 

Where is it packaged 

Prepacked for direct sale food is packaged at the same premises or at the site it is offered or sold to consumers. 

This includes: 
  • food packaged by the same food business and sold at a temporary or mobile site, such as a food truck or market stall 
  • the same food packaged and offered at different units in one building complex, such as an airport or shopping centre. 

All food products sold through distance selling (such as over the internet or by telephone) already requires allergen information to be provided before food is ordered and when it is delivered. This will not be affected by the new regulations. 

How it is packaged 

Prepacked for direct sale food is in packaging which meets all of the following criteria: 
  • the food must be fully or partly enclosed by packaging 
  • the food cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging in some way 
  • the food must be ready for final sale to the consumer. 

If you are unsure if the new PPDS amendment applies to you, you can check the FSA PPDS decision tool.

Find more information about the legislative changes, FAQs about what it means for food businesses and helpful resources on how to put it into practice on the UK Food Labelling Resource website.