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Food safety and allergies are some of the most important considerations that a café, restaurant or takeaway has to concern itself with, especially if food products are being prepared on-site.  In the UK, there are an estimated 2 million people who are diagnosed with food allergies, so there are many customers who can be affected by poor, or lack of, allergy information.

In October 2021, new food Safety Regulations known as Natasha’s Law will come into effect meaning that there will be stricter requirements for pre-packaged food labelling. Under this law, ingredients must be listed on individual packaging of food which is pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS).  Labels must clearly display the name of the food and full ingredients list, along with highlighted allergens.  The new law is wide-reaching and will apply to any food that is made and placed into packaging and sold on the same premises.  For example, pre-packaged sandwiches and salads in cafés and sandwich shops, butchers who make and sell pre-packed food, foods pre-made to be sold at a market or food van as well as pre-made foods sold on a deli counter or an in-store bakery in supermarkets.

For customer peace of mind, it’s important for businesses to make sure ingredients and allergen labels are easy to read and understand. Making sure food is correctly and clearly labelled is the best way to gain customer trust and confidence. Businesses who aim to implement the rules ahead of time will stand out against competitors who are not taking these precautions.

Before allergy labelling becomes law, it is important to explore options to make the transition as simple as possible. The law states that as soon as a recipe changes, the label must also change to reflect the new ingredients, as well as making it clear on the label that the ingredients have changed. This will take up considerable time if businesses are hand writing sticky labels or purchasing pre-printed labels, so it may be more practical to think of a quicker and more efficient way to print food labels on demand.

A solution to this could be Star’s label printers. For pre-packaged, direct sale food Star offers compact desktop direct thermal label printers for standard die cut labels such as the TSP700II and TSP800II as well as a range of economical Bluetooth mobile printers, such as the SML-200 and SM-L300, which offer a super-compact mobile solution for labelling on the go.  These options enable printing on a wide variety of label sizes as well as batch printing of labels.  With the only consumables being thermal label rolls, with no toner or ribbons necessary, they offer an affordable and easy-to-use solution for day-to-day food labelling.  Additional features such as splash proof covers, buzzer alerts and space-saving wall mounts are also available for kitchen environments.

Additionally, Star offers liner-less re-stick label printers with the TSP654IISK counter top model and Bluetooth mobile printer range. Ideal for food prep and customer order labelling in cafés and fast food environments, these use specialist MAXStick™ media which allows the user to print specific customer requirements on to repositionable labels that can simply be placed on orders such as coffee cups, food trays and takeaway bags.  The liner-less media is available in a number of paper widths and can print on variable lengths, which is particularly useful for printing orders and ingredient lists that might change from order to order.

Star printers are USB, LAN, Bluetooth and Cloud enabled for use with a range of devices including current labelling systems as well as iOS, Android and Windows tablets and handheld devices and can also simply connect to web and cloud-based software.

Star’s unique CloudPRNT label printers even allow the user to connect the printer to centrally held allergy labelling software and online databases of product ingredients for printers in multiple locations to directly print label updates as needed.  This means that no additional devices or tablets are required in the individual locations which could prove a significant cost saving for larger chains.

With proven reliability and over 40 years providing printing solutions into the hospitality sector, Star can offer the support and advice you need for any food labelling application.

If allergy labelling is something your business needs to start implementing, Star’s UK based customer success team is always happy to assist and can be contacted here.

For more information about the new Food Safety Regulations, please see the latest information from the Food Standards Agency