Michael Gove announces 'Natasha's law' to force food firms to fully list ingredients after teen's death
Food firms will be forced to fully list ingredients in all pre-packed food under the new "Natasha's law" proposals, Michael Gove has said.
The Environment Secretary said the legislation would give "confidence" to the UK's allergy sufferers by requiring allergen information to be included on all pre-packaged food.
The new rules - dubbed 'Natasha's Law' - come after 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died following a severe allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger sandwich in 2016.
Under current laws, food prepared on the premises where it is sold is not required to list full ingredients, even if it contains dozens of potential allergens.
The new legislation is expected to be put before the Commons by the end of summer, with businesses expected to implement the new rules by 2021.
Announcing the scheme, Mr Gove said the changes would make food labelling "clear and consistent" for allergy sufferers.
"Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse have been an inspiration in their drive to protect allergy sufferers and deliver Natasha's Law," he said.
"These changes will make food labels clear and consistent and give the country's two million food allergy suffers confidence in making safe food choices."
Meanwhile, Natasha's parents said they were "delighted" that the government had decided to introduce the legislation following an intensive lobbying campaign from the couple and allergy awareness groups.
"While Natasha's Law comes too late to save our beloved daughter, we believe that helping save other allergy sufferers and their families from the enduring agony that we will always bear is a fitting legacy for her life," they said.
"We would personally like to thank Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock for their unflinching support in doing the right thing on behalf of all people with allergies, and their support in setting up the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation which we are launching today in Natasha's memory."
Pret A Manger had already announced plans to trial full-ingredient lists after a coroner concluded Ms Ednan-Laperouse had died from anaphylaxis brought on by eating sesame contained with a baguette from the high-street chain.
Heather Hancock, chair of the Food Standards Agency, said the new rules would give better protection for allergy sufferers.
"We want the UK to become the best place in the world for people living with food hypersensitivities," she said.
"The impacy of food allery and intolerance on quality of life can be as great or even greater than almost all other foodborne diseases.
"Whilst it's impossible to eliminate the risks entirely, we believe this change will mean better protection for allergic consumers."