It’s not often I praise the government for ignoring industry concerns on regulatory change. But there are exceptions. And Michael Gove’s decision to press ahead with ‘Natasha’s Law’ despite the industry rejecting full ingredient labelling as a policy option when consulted on the matter is one of those exceptions.

Responding to the consultation earlier this year, food-to-go businesses raised concerns about the cost and complexity of introducing full ingredient labelling on pre-packed for direct sale items. They urged the government to instead opt for less stringent policy options of allergen labelling or ‘ask the staff’ stickers on food, with further information in writing.

But that wouldn’t be good enough. People are developing serious allergies to all sorts of foods, not just the 14 allergens officially recognised by EU law. And surely everyone deserves to know exactly what is in their food, so they can make the right decision on whether or not to buy it.

And cost is not really viable as a concern, given the fact allergens are a major – and growing – public health risk. As Pret’s food safety advisor Tim Smith pointed out to me recently, if you substituted the word ‘allergen’ for the word ‘listeria’ in a sentence that said taking action was too expensive, “it makes it seem as ludicrous as it is”.

‘Natasha’s Law’ can ensure some good comes of our daughter’s death, say Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse

Full ingredient labelling won’t be easy, but Pret has already demonstrated it is possible. And it’s offered to share its learnings and procedures with its rivals to help them make the change. Smaller sandwich chains will of course find it more difficult, but research suggests pre-packed for direct sale foods usually only make up a small part of their revenue, and most could switch to making all sandwiches up fresh to order if labelling was too burdensome.

In fact, it amazes me that the wider industry hasn’t started moving towards full ingredient labelling voluntarily given the tragedy that has occurred. Sure, Pret has been in the spotlight for its failures at the time of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death, but it wasn’t doing anything radically different to its rivals. And unless others make the same changes, and quickly, more lives could be at risk.

Natasha and Nadim Ednan Laperouse

Natasha’s parents Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said they were “absolutely delighted” with the government’s decision

Still, though, this new legislation is a major win for the millions of people in the UK suffering from food allergies and intolerances. According to a recent study by Spoon Guru, one in five of those Brits struggle to find safe food when eating out, and full ingredient labelling will give them some much-needed guidance and reassurance.

Even more importantly, the shift to full ingredient labelling in sandwich chains and other food-to-go outlets will hopefully prevent other families from having to endure what the Ednan-Laperouses have.

Speaking as Gove announced the new legislation, her parents Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse said they were “absolutely delighted” with the government’s decision to press ahead with full ingredient labelling. “While Natasha’s Law comes too late to save our beloved daughter, we believe that helping save other allergy sufferers and their families from the enduring agony that we will always bear is a fitting legacy for her life,” they said.

And that is exactly what Natasha’s Law is. It’s not an inconvenience, or a burden. It’s a legacy that everyone should honour without complaint. Because surely it should not take another death to convince the food-to-go industry that allergens are a very serious problem that need to be addressed.

So well done, Gove. But most of all, well done to Tanya and Nadim, whose tireless campaigning in the face of unimaginable grief has led to a truly momentous move forward for consumer protection.