In the US this week the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) released an industry "Code of Practice" for managing food allergens. Coincidence or not, the release of the code follows the criticism by the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) last week that suggested some food manufacturers do not pay sufficient attention to the labelling of potential food allergens. The purpose of the new Code issued by the NFPA is to define the general practices used by food companies that can ensure effective strategies for the management of food allergens. "This Code is an important step forward by the food industry in addressing the issue of food allergens," said Dr. Rhona Applebaum, NFPA's Executive Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs in a statement. "The Code - which has taken more than a year to finalise - was developed with input not only from NFPA member companies but also from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, the leading consumer group addressing this issue." "Food processors must be diligent in informing consumers about the presence of allergens in their products. Appropriate measures also must be taken to minimise the risk to allergic consumers of coming in contact with food allergens that - despite the use of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) - are inadvertently present in a product and consequently not declared on the label."Dr. Applebaum continued. Among other measures NFPA members must label, in terms commonly understood by consumers, the major food allergens in their ingredient declarations, including those that are part of natural and artificial flavours, and other food components and use GMPs and other allergen control strategies to manage and minimise the potential cross contact of the major food allergens. These strategies include, but are not limited to, training, separation, sanitation and scheduling. The NFPA represents the $460 billion food processing industry on scientific and public policy issues involving food safety, nutrition, technical and regulatory matters and consumer affairs. For further details about the new Code of Practise visit the NFPA site.