Bako has launched an online tool to enable customers to check for common allergens in the products it distributes.
The move comes ahead of Natasha’s Law, which comes into effect in England, Wales and Northern Ireland next month. The legislation will require an individual label showing the name of the food item and a full ingredients list on all pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) food.
Users entering Bako product codes into the new portal’s search engine will be able to identify any one of the 14 common major allergens if present in the product. These can then be declared on labelling or used to inform customers as required, the wholesaler said. The open-access portal can be accessed via the Bako website.
The development of the portal comes as eight in 10 food business owners admit they feel unprepared for the Natasha’s Law allergen legislation.
The study, commissioned by global standards organisation GS1, also found four in 10 people across the food industry have never even heard of Natasha’s Law.
At present, allergen information can be provided by any means, including staff verbally informing customers or providing a written sheet of information.
This will change when Natasha’s Law, the UK Food Information Amendment 2019, comes into force on 1 October, requiring all 14 main allergenic ingredients to be highlighted on the ingredients deck.
The legislation was passed in September 2019 after teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse suffered a fatal allergic reaction to sesame seeds, an ingredient in a baguette bought pre-packed at Pret A Manger, in 2016.
In July, the Food Standards Agency launched a hub to help businesses, including bakeries and cafes, comply with the new allergen labelling legislation.