Food: Labelling

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 12 February 2024.

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Photo of Claire Hanna Claire Hanna Social Democratic and Labour Party, Belfast South

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if she will make it his policy to implement Owen's Law in line with the recommendations of the Food Standards Agency.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The fundamental principle of food labelling rules is that information provided to the consumer must not mislead and must enable the safe use of food. The United Kingdom maintains high standards on the information that is provided on food labels so that consumers can have confidence in the food that they buy.

At the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) December 2023 board meeting, the board agreed a revised policy for provision of allergen information for food businesses selling non-prepacked food, such as coffee shops and restaurants. The new policy sets an expectation for these businesses to provide allergen information in writing as well as having a conversation. The board also agreed their preference would be for written information to be mandatory.

As a non-ministerial department, the FSA cannot make legislation and has written to Ministers in England and Wales, the Executive in Northern Ireland, and Food Standards Scotland for views on these matters.

In the meantime, the FSA will develop guidance to implement this policy and provide support for food businesses on how to provide written allergen information to help drive up compliance and make it easier for people with a food allergy, intolerance or coeliac disease to make safe choices when eating out.

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