• Sectors we work in banner(2)

    Quick Reads

Ongoing supply chain crisis looms large over upcoming allergen law change

Fresh warnings are abound over the impact of the supply chain crisis in the UK, which has so far seen Nando's hit with a chicken shortage and Wetherspoons run low on beer. Now, Coral Rose of Country Range Food Group warns that stringent allergen labelling requirements will be more difficult to meet as a result.

It is thought that the crisis is caused by a shortage of HGV drivers as a result of Brexit and Covid-19 restricting the flow of European workers, a back-log of driver tests and disadvantageous tax and working conditions in the UK. A survey of the Road Haulage Association estimates that we are currently facing a shortfall of around 100,000 drivers.

A shortage of deliveries has led to wholesalers sourcing alternatives for unavailable products, which are in turn supplied to and stocked by businesses already gearing up to provide full ingredient labelling and allergen information on pre-packaged food as required by Natasha's Law, when it comes into effect next month. This places pressure on wholesalers to provide alternative products with the same allergen information, though coordinating and communicating such requirements has been strained by staff shortages.

As the development period for many pre-packaged food products is often many months, a late change in the allergen information will create burdens for businesses who then need to change their labelling appropriately to ensure it is accurate and compliant. Whilst there may be a possibility that a product is instead “made to order” (to which Natasha’s Law should not apply), it is ordinarily safest to err on the side of caution and update the label appropriately to reflect any changes.

Where alternative products are provided, the contract between the wholesaler and business should be considered carefully to determine whether it is the responsibility of the wholesaler to provide accurate allergen information to the business or deliver specified goods. It may then be possible for the business to reject alternative products or accept them and recover their losses or increased costs from the wholesaler for re-labelling or modifying packaging as required. Where the wholesaler provides incorrect allergen information and this leads to liability on the business under Natasha’s Law or otherwise, it may also be possible for the business to bring a claim against the wholesaler.

In any case, it's crunch time for businesses throughout the supply chain to ensure that they meet their obligations and food safety regulations whilst meeting the demands of consumers in these challenging conditions. Only time will tell whether products are on the shelves in time for the highly-competitive and crucial Christmas season.

Sometimes we don't know until a truck arrives at the back door what's going to be on the vehicle... that gives us very limited time to source an alternative product in time for customers.

Our thinking

  • IBA Annual Conference 2024

    Charlotte Ford

    Events

  • Tortious liability: Supreme Court brings relief for directors

    Olivia Gray

    Insights

  • Stephen Burns and Katie Bewick write for New Law Journal on shareholders’ rights after Zedra

    Stephen Burns

    In the Press

  • Rhys Novak writes for Solicitors Journal on what legal advisors need to know about dawn raids

    Rhys Novak

    In the Press

  • Employment Law & Worker Rights - The Conservative Party’s Manifesto

    Nick Hurley

    Insights

  • "Has anyone seen my cat?" - Pet-Nups and Pet Disputes between Unmarried Couples

    Jessie Davies

    Quick Reads

  • Employment Law & Worker Rights - The Liberal Democrats Manifesto

    Nick Hurley

    Insights

  • Charles Russell Speechlys advises Foodles on the strategic acquisition of caterer Le Val d'Evre

    Renaud Ferry

    News

  • Re UKCloud: The importance of exercising control over a fixed charge asset

    Cara Whiffin

    Insights

  • Ultimate Beneficial Ownership

    William Reichert

    Insights

  • Consumer Duty Board Report

    Richard Ellis

    Insights

  • ESG Reporting for Public and Listed Companies

    William Reichert

    Insights

  • Renewable Energy

    William Reichert

    Insights

  • LIDW: Is arbitration an effective process for disputes involving state interests: a panel discussion of concerns raised in Nigeria v. P&IDL [2023] EWHC 2638

    Richard Kiddell

    Events

  • Is the horizon level? Current updates and predictions for Competition Law in the UAE

    William Reichert

    Insights

  • LIDW: An Era of Constant Change – an event to explore the General Counsel’s role in delivering sustainable growth whilst managing global ESG risks

    Caroline Greenwell

    Events

  • LIDW: Liability imposed on UK Directors and how to mitigate the risks

    Claudine Morgan

    Events

  • The Lawyer covers our Training Contract support, in light of the shift to the SQE

    Karen Stages

    In the Press

  • The Use of Experts in International Arbitration

    Peter Smith

    Insights

  • The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Act receives Royal Assent! What can we expect to see in consumer law changes?

    Dillon Ravikumar

    Insights

Back to top