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Food labelling laws on prepacked food for direct sale have now changed to protect Scottish consumers

New legislation requiring food businesses in Scotland to include detailed ingredient and allergen information on labels for prepacked for direct sale (PPDS) foods became law on 1 October 2021.

It is now a legal requirement for businesses who produce PPDS foods to include the name of the food and list all the ingredients, along with any of the 14 allergens required to be declared by law, emphasised within it, if they are ingredients of the food, on the label.

What is prepacked for direct sale food?

Prepacked for direct sale food refers to any item of food packaged so that its contents cannot be altered before being sold to the customer, such as sandwiches, pies, burgers, ready meals or cakes/baked goods prepared and packaged by a food business before the consumer selects them.

The term also refers to food items packaged before being offered for sale on the same premises or from a mobile or temporary business, such as a market stall or food truck owned by that same business.

Why is this new food legislation needed?

Food allergies can be life-threatening. The new law will offer increased protection and confidence for consumers living with a food allergy or intolerance. From 1 October, PPDS labelling should include the 14 ‘most common’ allergens specifically listed in food information law, as well as other ingredients which could trigger reactions.

Consumers have been calling for improved labelling for some time. The changes to the law follow the tragic and highly publicised case of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in 2016 following a severe allergic reaction to an undeclared ingredient in a baguette sold PPDS.

What information is now required?

You must include the name of the food and the ingredients list with any of the 14 allergens required to be declared by law emphasised within it, if they are ingredients of the food.

Allergens could be emphasised by:

Food Standards Scotland

Food Standards Scotland’s Chair, Ross Finnie, says: “This legislation comes in response to an overwhelming number of requests from consumers and families of those at risk for complete allergen and ingredient information to be clearly visible on PPDS foods.

“By doing this, consumers can have clarity and trust in the food they buy, making it easier for those needing this information for safety and dietary reasons. This is a significant step forward, and from 1 October retailers must provide clear information to consumers. The changes mirror those being introduced across the UK.

“Food Standards Scotland has carried out extensive stakeholder engagement across the industry on the benefits, risks and impacts of this new legislation and has developed a suite of support assets. We will continue to highlight the changes and support retailers with practical guidance and online resources.”

To find out more about how your business is affected by this change and get additional support and guidance, along with a short video to help explain the legislation change, visit the Food Standards Scotland website today www.foodstandards.gov.scot/prepacked

Food labelling law is regulated by the Environmental Health service at Midlothian Council. You can contact them at foodandsafety@midlothian.gov.uk or telephone 0131 271 3559

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