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Are handwritten labels allowed under Natasha’s Law?

With less than 6 months until enforcement of new labelling legislation, the clock is ticking on getting your labels in order.
13th Apr 2021
Under the UK Food Information Amendment or Natasha’s Law, UK Food Businesses must list all ingredients on individual packaging of products that are considered prepackaged for direct sale (PPDS). The new law, which is designed to protect allergy sufferers, applies to all UK food businesses selling PPDS, and will come into effect in October 2021. In simple terms, PPDS can be defined as food which is packaged at the same place it is offered or sold to consumers and is in this packaging before it is ordered or selected. 

Need further help deciphering whether your business provides food options designated the PPDS classification? This article from FSA provides criteria for the classification of PPDS food items. 

What does Natasha’s Law mean for my food business? 

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). 

Are hand-written labels sufficient under Natasha’s Law?

Though food business operators do have the option of creating labels manually, automating the labelling processes is strongly encouraged. Hand-written labels are labour intensive, and are unlikely to provide an aesthetic match to a printed label. For this reason, a handwritten label is not likely to incite the same level of customer confidence associated with a clean, printed label. Furthermore, handwritten labels invite the human error that is common with manual data transfer between one stage of the food production process to the other. Small businesses choosing to manually produce labels must establish the relevant standard operating procedures to ensure that all the legal requirements are met. 

What are labels supposed to look like under Natasha’s Law? 

Information must be provided in characters of font size where the x-height is equal to or greater than 1.2 mm. In case of packaging or containers wherein the largest surface is less than 80 cm2 , the x-height of the font size must be equal to or greater than 0.9 mm. 

It is important to note that in addition to satisfying new legal requirements, food businesses must still ensure their labels comply with existing relevant food information and labelling requirements for the country they operate in. 

Further guidance on labelling requirements is provided by the FSA in their Introduction to Allergen Changes guide

To help businesses prepare and adapt to Natasha’s Law, Nutritics along with a number of our founding partners will be offering free webinars, online workshops and hands-on training. These free, live webinars will help businesses across the board to understand the essentials to ensure compliance with new allergen and food labelling law, covering topics such as food labelling, legislation compliance, allergen awareness and recipe building. 

How Nutritics can help to implement Natasha's Law for your business

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. Once the system is updated, the information for the label is updated instantly. Nutritics' end-to-end labelling system supports compliance with food law by removing human interference with labels, minimising the risk of incorrect label information being displayed with a completely automated process, controlled at the point of production. Any changes made to products, recipes or labels at production level are automatically applied in real time.