DOZENS of food outlets found to have breached a new law have been warned they could be putting customers and the future of their own business at risk.

Of 100 sandwich shops, delis and bakeries tested across Somerset, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, 56 fell foul of the new allergen law.

Businesses who prepare then package food for sale are being urged not to put their customers at risk and to check Trading Standards guidance to help them stay on the right side of the law.

Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service (HotSW TS) visited the premises to check if they conformed to new Government rules requiring that require full ingredient and allergen labelling on all food made on premises and pre-packed for direct sale.

Officers will carry out further sampling this year.

Natasha’s Law, named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died from anaphylaxis after she ate sesame in a baguette, was brought into force on the October 1, 2021.

HotSW TS officers selected food business premises not previously been included in allergen surveillance work or previously received advice surrounding allergen labelling.

They found 22 of the 56 that failed had sold products that either were not labelled or incorrectly labelled - but when tested the sample did not contain the allergens the sample was submitted for.

However, 34 premises failed because they contained an undeclared allergen, often because the product had little or no labelling.

Of the samples that failed because they contained an undeclared allergen, milk was the most prevalent in 44 per cent of the samples – cross contamination of work surfaces may have been a factor.

Gluten was the next most common and was found in 17 per cent of samples.

Businesses where failed samples were found are being advised by Trading Standards officers.

Guidance is available on the HOTSW TS website or on the Food Standards Agency website.

Fakir Osman, the service's head, said: “If you are a business who sells food, it is vital that you have a thorough understanding of the changes in legislation and how it impacts on your business.

“These changes to the law are recent and currently those businesses whose labelling has been found to be in breach of the new law will receive advice from Trading Standards officers on how to ensure their products are compliant.

“I advise that businesses read our guidance, as the welfare of your customers and your business could depend on it.

“To safeguard customers, we will conduct further sampling later this year.”