'Natasha's Law' and the Importance of Food Labeling
From tracking calories to monitoring cholesterol, food labels are vital to the world of eating. Knowing what we eat can improve our lives. However,for those with food allergies, food labels can mean the difference between an allergic reaction or not. Food labels provide valuable information to avoid allergens. When a food doesn’t have a label, it can be risky to consume the food.
In a previous blog post about teaching students about food allergies, we mentioned the story of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a sandwich that had an undeclared allergen. Doctor Sean Cummings believes that allergens were not “labelled adequately or clearly” on the food’s packaging and believes the previous system of labeling was unsafe.
The United Kingdom recently passed a law after Natasha requiring food businesses to include all ingredients on pre-packaged food. The law is set to launch by the summer of 2021, giving businesses a two year implementation period to change. Natasha’s parents, along with pushing for this law, have set up a foundation called NARF, Natasha’s Allergy Research Foundation, that focuses on finding a cure for allergies.
Natasha’s Law’ brings up the importance of food labeling. While food labeling is about informing all consumers about what they are putting in their bodies, it’s important for anyone with food allergies to avoid their allergen. Currently, only the eight main allergens need to be declared on food labels. The Big 8 cause about ninety percent of allergic reactions, there are more than 160 foods that can cause allergic reactions.
Reading food labels can be a challenge, especially if you have an allergy that is not one of the Big 8. Regardless, we have a blog post where we talk about how to read food labels. Many believe that changes to food labeling need to be implemented. Some changes people wish are labels for unpackaged food, better allergy and intolerance info, specifying natural and artificial flavors, and more. Some of these changes can be change the lives for those with food allergies.
Do you have an allergen that isn’t declared on food labels? Do you think food labeling needs to be updated? Comment below and share your opinions with us!