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The government is proposing stronger food labelling laws following the tragic death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, due to an allergic reaction to a baguette bought from Pret a Manger in 2016. Environment Secretary Michael Gove says he has instructed civil servants to investigate a law change and the proposals could see a requirement to provide a full list of ingredients on all packaged food such as sandwiches and salads.
So how will this affect food and beverage manufacturers and distributors?
There are 14 ‘main’ allergens recognised in the UK, ranging from common ones such as milk and nuts to the more obscure such as lupin and mustard. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) estimates that around two million people in the UK live with a diagnosed food allergy.
Whilst fairly strict food labelling requirements are already in place about ten people die every year in the UK from food-induced anaphylaxis. Allergens accounted for over half of the FSA product recalls in the last three years, so it is a major issue for food and drink manufacturers and food preparation companies.
Step Forward Product Recall Insurance
More stringent labelling requirements could leave these businesses facing even tougher penalties which could have dire consequences on their ability to survive such an event. Help is at hand and Product Recall insurance is available to help these companies with the costly implications of an error in their allergen controls, but the take-up of this type of cover is still not commonplace in this industry.
The cost of the recall itself can represent just a fraction of a claim settlement as rectification costs, loss of sales, business interruption and the costs of publicity and restoring the brand can all be covered by product recall insurance.
A further benefit, with particular relevance to SME businesses, is that rather than just waiting at the end of a claim with a settlement cheque, some product recall policies can also provide access to a panel of consultants who can help mitigate and prepare for a recall event.
And the future?
According to Allergy UK, the number of allergy sufferers in the UK is on the rise and is likely to result in more product recalls and an increased ability to link those to both manufacturers and food preparation points, while regulatory authorities will further tighten rules regarding allergen labelling and staff education.
The combination of all these factors means the need to have adequate product recall cover has never been more important. If you wish to discuss your requirements, please contact Franklands on 01332 545720.