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Digital technology experts finds a solution for stricter food safety rules


Bludot Technologies in Cookstown has developed a unique digital platform to help UK food businesses meet the stricter requirements on labelling of pre-packed foods.

Known as ‘Natasha’s Law’, the new legislative requirements come into operation this October and will require allergen and nutritional information to be included on all packaging.

Bludot Technologies has used its specialist in technology systems for the food, retail and hospitality sectors to pioneer an ‘Allergen Intelligence’ technology solution that assists the hugely important food preparation, packaging and labelling sectors here and in Great Britain meet the tough new rules.

Allergen Intelligence has been shaped specifically by the Tyrone technology company as an innovative solution which streamlines the creation, display and printing of mandatory allergen and nutritional information, making it simple for businesses of all sizes to measure up to the exacting food safety requirements of the new UK legislation.

John Melarkey, Bludot’s chief revenue officer explains: “We’ve been working on the new technology platform for more than two years in response to the debates around consumer safety that led to ‘Natasha’s Law’, the objective of which is to protect food allergy sufferers in particular. It will also help to ensure confidence among consumers in general about the safety of pre-packaged food they buy.”

The new ‘Natasha’s Law’ aims to bring greater transparency to what people are buying and eating.

“Our Allergen Intelligence helps to make food safer to eat,” John adds. “Pre-packed foods for direct sale to the public will soon be required to feature more detailed labelling about allergens from this October. We’ve used our extensive experience in the food industry to design an easily accessible digital platform that helps the industry to comply with the much tighter safety legislation for consumers.

“While the new legislation applies to on-site pre-packaged food, all food producers need to factor in the new requirements which may be extended to the industry in due course.”

Creating compliant labels, he continues, had been “getting increasingly complicated”.

“Food businesses, both large and small, are now aware of the need for technology to help overcome these challenges,” he says. “The ‘Intelligent Algorithm’ at the core of the Bludot solution effortlessly creates and manages all the information necessary to produce food labels fully compliant with the implementation of the new legislation”.

The new law, in addition, had implications for restaurants providing digital click and collect and home delivery services for consumers, he adds.

“Allergen Intelligence is major component within our comprehensive digital offering for food retailers, enabling them to embrace growing trends among consumers for online ordering,” he explains.

The new regulation follows the tragic death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse after suffering a severe allergic reaction to a pre-packed baguette bought at Heathrow Airport in London in July 2016.

The Food Standards Agency was expected to publish information for the food industry on October 1 to help ensure that businesses of all sizes can start preparing for and adapting to the changes. The new rules replaced the current situation in which food prepared on the premises in which it is sold is not required to display allergen information on the label.

Bludot’s unique and leading-edge Allergen Information hub “provided a fully-integrated and real-time system for streamlining the creation and monitoring of mandatory food nutritional information and allergies for product labelling”.

This feature was an integral and important part of a much more extensive digital solution provided by the Tyrone digital technology company for the food and retail industries. The technology, he says “is aimed at food stores and other key retailers such as convenience stores and is designed to assist in enhancing their business by streamlining sales and the whole customer experience”.

Other key features for food retailers included facilities for click and collect, click and delivery, pre-ordering, scan, pay and go and for mobile payments at the pump in petrol forecourts.

Bludot Technologies was established in 2017 by Frank Kilpatrick, a leading and successful Tyrone businessman, and employs 10 people. The technology company offered a range of digital products and services mostly in the food and retail space and is active in the UK, Ireland, US and the United Arab Emirates.

In addition to solutions for food labelling, nutrition and allergens, the innovative technology covered a comprehensive range of retail services including fuel pre-pay at pump; mobile ordering for food-to-go; self-service kiosks; scan pay-and-go; In-Store mobile payments; forecourt services mobile pre-pay; and loyalty programmes.

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