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County Antrim businesses take part in focus group in support for new food allergen law

Eight food businesses in Antrim and Newtownabbey are taking part in a focus group to raise awareness of the new Natasha’s Law.

The new food allergen law which came into effect on October 1 requires food businesses to provide full ingredient lists and allergen labelling on pre-packaged foods.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s environmental health section has partnered with Safe Food and the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland to develop messaging for Northern Ireland food businesses.

The amendment was introduced following the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a pre-packaged baguette, which at the time did not require ingredients labelling and follows lobbying by a group led by her parents.

Products that will now need to be labelled include pre-wrapped sandwiches, cheeses and cold meat from a supermarket deli counter.

Emily Miles, Food Standards Agency’s chief executive, said:

“If these changes drive down the number of hospital admissions caused by food allergies, which has increased threefold over the past 20 years and prevent further tragic deaths such as Natasha’s, that can only be a positive thing.

“I understand how difficult the past 18 months have been for food businesses, and I am grateful for the effort that so many have made to prepare for the changes.”

The Food Standards Agency says that local authorities responsible for enforcing the law are being advised to take a “proportionate and risk-based approach to breaches of the law”.

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