New law introduced in Britain to protect allergy sufferers

LONDON, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- A new food labelling law to protect millions of allergy sufferers in Britain was laid in Parliament on Thursday following a campaign by the parents of a teenage girl who died after eating a take-away baguette.

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(File photo: AP)

Known as Natasha's Law, it is being introduced to protect allergy sufferers and give them confidence with pre-packed for direct sale food needing full labelling.

Following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger baguette, the British government confirmed stronger laws would be implemented to protect those with allergies and give them greater confidence in the food they buy.

Natasha, from London, was just 15 when she went into cardiac arrest on a flight to the French resort of Nice after buying the baguette at Heathrow Airport in 2016. She suffered a severe allergic reaction to sesame seeds contained in the baguette.

Currently, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information on the label.

The new law tightens the rules by requiring those foods to carry a full list of ingredients.

Food Minister Zac Goldsmith said: "This is a significant moment for the millions of allergy sufferers in England and a fitting tribute to the tireless campaigning of Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse (Natasha's parents). The introduction of this law will make it easier for allergy sufferers to make clear, safe choices when buying food."

In a statement the family of Natasha said: "This is a hugely significant day for allergen sufferers in this country. The introduction of Natasha's Law brings greater transparency about what people are buying and eating, lays down new standards for the food companies, and highlights the battle against the growing epidemic of allergies."

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) will publish information for industry on Oct. 1 to help ensure all businesses in Britain can prepare and adapt to the changes in the food labelling rules which will formerly reach the statute book in October, 2021.

Food Standards Agency Chair Heather Hancock said: "This is an important and welcome step towards our ambition for the UK to become the best place in the world for people who have food allergies and intolerance."

Food businesses across Britain have already taken steps to improve food labelling, with outlets urged by the FSA to do all they can ahead of the implementation date to help consumers make safe food choices.