Sysco and NARF

Sysco GB has begun a three-year strategic health partnership with the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, to support the organisation’s goal of preventing and eradicating food allergies.

As part of the partnership, all Sysco GB operating companies including Country Choice, KFF, Medina Foodservice, Brakes and Fresh Direct will be raising awareness with a series of events, webinars and videos.

The research foundation was set up by Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse in 2019, following the death of their daughter Natasha three years prior.

Natasha died after eating sesame seeds that were baked into the dough of a baguette. The label on the packaging did not include the ingredient.

Since setting up the foundation, the two founders successfully campaigned to implement Natasha’s Law, which requires food retailers to display full ingredients and allergens on all items.

When the law came into force in 2021, there was initially concern that independent businesses would not be able to get up-to-date information on allergens in product ingredients.

However, Sysco said it had already worked to highlight the importance of food allergies and used technology to provide solutions for customers.

For example, Country Choice developed its own bespoke labelling solution which is linked to a database to help businesses serving food ensure that allergens on food-to-go products are clearly labelled.

Brakes provides a similar solution through its Virtual Chef system.

However, the foodservice wholesaler argued there was still work to do to ensure clear and consistent allergy information is provided everywhere.

“Awareness of the importance of allergen labelling has grown massively in the past few years, thanks in no small part to the work of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation,” said Sysco GB chief commercial officer Paul Nieduszynski.

“However, we know there are still a lot of gaps in both knowledge and application and we want our partnership with the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation to be the catalyst for a renewed campaign to put allergy labelling at the very top of the food agenda, and support the Foundation’s aim of ending food allergies.”

Tanya Ednan-Laperouse said: “We are really pleased to receive ongoing support from Sysco GB whose business in the food sector spreads far and wide.

“The mission of Natasha’s Foundation is to make food allergy history through discovery science and awareness, so that food allergy can be dialled back down and people can lead better and inclusive lives around food.

“As food allergy grows bigger each year, it is more important than ever to tackle the issue head-on and without delay. The support from Sysco GB will help Natasha’s Foundation to deliver on its mission and improve the lives of millions of children, teenagers and adults.”