On Monday the 6th September Caroline Benjamin was asked to present on Natasha’s Law and Emerging Allergen Controls Issues to the CIEH community.
The webinar was attended by over 500 people,
- 73% Enforcement officers & Local Authority’s
- 39% Consultants & Trainers and
- 16% Food Business Operations.
The webinar covered the basics of Natasha’s Law but also covered why Natasha’s Law was pushed to be a regulation. In summary Natasha Eden-Laperouse tragically died in 2016 when she purchased a baguette containing Sesame flour (normally sesame would be visible by seeds on top of a product). Pret a Manger were working within the law, they were preparing foods on site, and had signposting and edge labels requesting customers to ask staff for allergen information. However, it was not clear under the current labelling regulations on the baguette’s ingredient contents
It was highlighted by the coroner that several families had been in contact with Pret before Natasha’s tragic death to point out the issue of not having clear information on products relating to sesame and other allergens. At this time Pret did not have a system in place to monitor these types of customer issues (Near Misses) if they had registered, monitored, and trended the issues they may have carried out a root cause analysis and made the decision to label appropriately. This may have prevented Natasha’s tragic death.
Currently Pret have introduced systems to monitor and trend all issues including, near misses, these are monitored by their management team on a regular basis. Pret is also part of a working group with other high street brands to have guidance and best practice shared across the industry as they stated “Food Safety Is Not a Competition”
With the webinar Caroline covered the importance in the preventing incidents from re-occurring by logging ‘Near Misses’ and trending issues to ensure patterns are captured using Root Cause analysis tools to prevent serious accidents happening in your business
If you are a member of CIEH the webinar can be viewed in the ‘My CIEH’ section after logging in.
Caroline also covered enforcement details as supplied by the FSA webinar in August by Steve Lewis-Adie, Policy Manager – Regulatory Policy Team, FSA Wales.
Who will enforce the PPDS regulations?
The regulations will be managed by local authorities in Wales and District councils in Northern Ireland. However, in England District Councils in the area of County Councils will not have the power to enforce the PPDS rules. Therefore, County Councils, Metropolitan District Councils, Unitary Authorities and London Boroughs will enforce.
District Councils may still have a role in providing guidance, though enforcement will need to be escalated to County Councils
Local Authority Enforcement Approach
LA’s will be able to offer advice and guidance, and this can also be found via the FSA website on the PPDS hub
When LAs are aware that the PPDS allergen labelling is not be adhered too, they will take a proportionate & risk-based approach to enforce the regulations, considering the seriousness of the non-compliance and the business’s willingness to make amends as appropriate. The FSA’s guidance is to take a graduated balanced approach based on the Food Law Code of Practice and their local enforcement policies.
Auditing Allergen Compliance
Auditing allergen compliance is a central part of all food standards and food hygiene interventions. With some Local Authorities it will be EHOs or EHPs who will carry out the inspection as part of their food hygiene inspections, and in other areas it will be Trading Standards officers in relation to their food composition and labelling assessments.
What Can Inspections include
- The foods served affected by PPDS
- Are they labelled correctly?
- How are the foods prepared, packaged, and labelled?
- Equipment and processing areas to identify cross contamination risks
- Suppliers’ ingredient information and how allergen information and ‘May Contains’ is identified on the labelling
- Record keeping, near misses and product recall process
Enforcement options include:
- Issuing guidance and advice
- Simple cautions
- Serious cases prosecutions
- Issue FIR Improvement Notices for non-compliance
- What is wrong
- Why it was issued
- What needs to be done to correct the issue
- When the improvement needs to have been completed
Fines for breaching the allergen requirements for PPDS can be unlimited
If you have queries in your business surrounding PPDS and Natasha’s Law join us on the 17 September for a 40 minute Q & A workshop where you will have the opportunity to put your questions to Caroline & Jacqui Click Here to find out more and book your space
To watch the full FSA webinar recording click here.
Click here to view slides
Founder – Food Allergy Aware