Alibi labelling. How are you responding?

Common food allergens

The introduction of ‘Natasha’s Law’ is a result of the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse. In 2016 the 15 year old ate a baguette containing sesame ingredients, to which she was allergic. Natasha suffered anaphylactic shock.

The new law takes effect from 1st of October 2021 and aims to “make it easier for allergy sufferers to make clear, safe choices when buying food.” Natasha’s Law marks a reform in food labelling in outlets and stores. However, high profile cases such as Natasha’s has rightly raised further awareness amongst food manufacturers, like us here at Classic Cuisine. 

Currently, food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information on the label, meaning allergy sufferers sometimes lack confidence buying food to eat whilst they are

Ongoing focus on Alibi labelling

We’re seeing a stronger focus on ‘Precautionary labelling’ also know as ‘Alibi labelling’. For anyone that isn’t aware, Alibi labelling means that any pre-prepared food at risk of being affected by allergen cross-contamination must be stated on the label. Alibi labelling is not currently a legal requirement but is needed when risk is present. The food standard agency states that “Precautionary allergen labelling should only be used after a thorough risk assessment. It should only be used if the risk of allergen cross-contamination is real and cannot be removed.” 

Alibi labelling as a form of allergen management

The benefits of better labelling for consumers is clear. However, there is concern over Alibi labelling as a form of allergen management amongst consumers. This is demonstrated in the case of vegan products. The problem arises as vegan products are often a ‘go-to’ for allergy sufferers, deemed as a safe choice. From our perspective, It’s very easy to see where the confusion arises for consumers, the term vegan suggests – milk and egg-free.

However, in contrast, The Vegan Society states that – “Products suitable for vegans may not be suitable for people with allergies. Vegans avoid exploitation of animals, whereas people with allergies need products that do not contain the allergens that affect them.”

Improving clarity and safety

This raises the question – What do you think needs to change to promote clarity and improve food labelling and safety? As a responsible food manufacturer, we constantly risk assess our processes and carry out validation checks. 

How are you responding and what are your thoughts?