Following the introduction of The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 (commonly known as Natasha’s Law), we have compiled this practical guidance for users of the Neighbourly Product Surplus scheme.
What has changed?
From 1 October 2021, the requirements for food labelling change in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 have come into force, amending The Food Information Regulations 2014 in relation to food that is prepacked for direct sale (PPDS).
PPDS has been reclassified and is now subject to the same labelling requirements as already apply to general packaged foods, including the requirement to provide ingredient and allergen information on the packaging itself (or a label attached to it).
You can find out more information about this change, including examples of PPDS and what to do to ensure you are compliant here - FSA: Introduction to allergen labelling changes.
Guidance for packed food products
Packed foods, which now includes general prepacked food found on supermarket shelves and PPDS (e.g. from an in-store deli or bakery), must meet the full requirements set out in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. Neighbourly's Terms of Service have been updated to reflect this.
We recommend that donor companies and community recipients check packaged food products prior to distribution, to ensure that all ingredient and allergen information is present and intact. If the packaging or labelling with the relevant information is missing, damaged or incomplete, the product should not be distributed.
Guidance for loose food products
Loose food products (as well as products which are stored loose and only packaged on-site at the consumer’s request) are unaffected by Natasha’s Law and remain subject to the original legal requirement to make allergen information available, either in writing or verbally.
If these products contain any ingredient with a substance or product listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, there is also a requirement to give a clear written indication that details of that substance or product can be obtained from a member of staff.
In order to assist with this, we have asked the relevant partner companies to provide to Neighbourly all relevant allergen information for any loose food products they make available for distribution and Neighbourly will make this available to community recipients (see below). This is intended to supplement any information provided with the products or otherwise communicated directly by the donor companies.
Nevertheless, we recommend caution in distributing loose products because - in addition to any allergens within the products - there is no guarantee that loose products haven’t come into contact with other products with allergens.
FSA guidance is that, if cross-contamination cannot be avoided, consumers should be informed that you cannot provide an allergen-free option. Our view is that charities and community causes should follow this guidance in relation to loose food products and avoid giving such products to any consumer with a known or potential allergy.
Lidl In-Store Bakery - Allergy Advice
Please use the following information sheet to provide information to customers/clients about Lidl products:
Please note: due to the way Lidl handle and prepare bakery, all products may contain traces of all 14 EU allergens, excluding fish and crustaceans.
For info, Lidl bakery products have the below:
Contains: cereals containing gluten, eggs, lupin, milk, nuts, sesame, soya, sulphites
May contains: Mustard, celery, sulphites, peanuts
Packing loose products
It is for each donor company to determine whether to pre-pack otherwise loose products prior to distribution. However, if it does so, the packaging must meet the informational requirements referred to above. Loose products may be covered for transport but should not be packed unless they are labelled in accordance with those requirements.
As stated above, community recipients should ensure any packed food products include the required information, either on the packaging or labelled to it.
Our view is that community recipients should continue to treat loose products as they have done prior to 1 October, subject to the considerations around allergen information and cross-contamination referred to above.
This guidance is provided for general information only and does not constitute binding advice or a professional opinion. Donor companies and community recipients are primarily responsible for complying with all applicable laws and regulations as distributors of the food products. You should seek professional advice where necessary.
If you have any questions for Neighbourly, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.