Labelling changes for food that is ‘prepacked for direct sale’ – Natasha’s Law

From 1 October 2021 the requirements for the labelling of food that is pre-wrapped on site (known as ‘prepacked for direct sale’) has changed. The new labelling aims to inform and protect consumers by providing ingredient and allergen information on the packaging.

What does ‘prepacked for direct sale’ mean?

Food is considered ‘prepacked for direct sale’ if it is:

  • food that is wrapped where it is sold and before the customer orders it
  • wrapped with packaging that fully or partly encloses the food, so that the food cannot be altered without opening or changing the packaging
  • and that food is ready for sale to the final consumer.

What is the new labelling requirement?

Foods that are ‘prepacked for direct sale’ now need to be labelled with:

  1. the name of the food, and
  2. a full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients emphasised within the list.

Examples of ‘prepacked for direct sale’ foods:

  • Sandwiches and bakery products which are wrapped on site, for example in clingflim or a sealed bag, before a consumer selects or orders them.
  • Fast food packed before it is ordered, such as a burger under a hot lamp, where the food cannot be altered without opening the packaging.
  • Products which are prepackaged on site ready for sale, such as pizzas, rotisserie chicken, boxed salads and pasta pots.
  • Burgers and sausages prewrapped by a butcher on the premises ready for sale to consumers.
  • Foods packed at one location then sold by the same operator at a market stall.
  • Foods provided in schools, care homes or hospitals and other similar settings that are wrapped before the customer orders the meal.

Examples of foods that are not included in these new regulations:

  • Foods that are sold unwrapped, such as cakes displayed covered but sold unwrapped. Allergen information must still be provided but this can be done through other means, including orally.
  • Food that is packaged after being ordered by the consumer, such as pre-ordered school pack lunches.
  • Food packed by one business and supplied to another business. This is ‘prepacked food’ and already requires full labelling, including the name of the food and a full ingredients list, with allergenic ingredients emphasised within it.
  • Food sold by means of distance selling, such as food which is purchased by telephone or over the internet. Businesses selling pre-packed food this way will need to ensure that mandatory allergen information is available to the consumer before they purchase the product and also at the moment of delivery.
  • Food in small containers, where the largest surface area of the packaging is less than 10cm2, do not need to list the full ingredients, but should list only the mandatory allergen information as a ‘contains’ statement, for example ‘Contains: Milk, Egg and Wheat’. However, the ingredients information must be available in some form (for example verbally or in writing that is not on the packaging).

More information is available at: Introduction to allergen labelling changes (PPDS) | Food Standards Agency.

If you would like advice about how your labelling needs to change to comply with this requirement please contact the Food and Safety Team at foodandsafety@lbhf.gov.uk or on 020 8753 1081.