FDF allergen guide aims to curb excess ‘may contain’ labelling

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Risk, Asthma, Risk management

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) in the UK has published an allergen guidance paper that aims to curb excessive use of precautionary ‘may contain’ labelling.

The trade association said that current allergen management practices have succeeded in reducing risks for allergy sufferers. But it said manufacturers have no consistent, unified approach to risk assessment and this has led to excessive use of precautionary ‘may contain’ labelling.

The Allergens Steering Group at the FDF has therefore published a paper entitled “A Vision for Allergen Management Best Practice in the Food Industry” ​in​a bid to improve the situation.

The paper employs a risk-based approach to allergen management and sets out action levels based on current scientific and clinical data. Its aim is to equip industry with the necessary information to allow food manufacturers to consistently apply precautionary labelling and clearly communicate the allergen status of products.

Stakeholder views

The FDF is confident that industry, regulators and other stakeholders will carefully consider the approach laid out in the paper. “We hope that this paper will fuel the debate on policy implications amongst all stakeholders involved,”​ said Rachel Ward, chair of the FDF Allergens Steering Group.

Reacting to the publication of the paper, Sue Hattersley, head of the food allergy branch at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said the regulator recognised the need for internationally agreed risk management thresholds. Speaking directly about the FDF paper, Hattersley continued: “The Agency is keen to continue to work with all those involved to help realise the vision set out in this paper.”

Meanwhile, Lynne Regent, CEO of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, lent the full support of the organisation to the paper. “We support the view that this is an extremely considered and intelligent allergen management “vision” which, if it were to be taken forward and fulfilled, would hopefully minimize the use of unnecessary precautionary labelling and make shopping for food allergic individuals a safer and less stressful experience.”

Source: Trends in Food Science and Technology
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1016/j.tifs.2010.09.004
“A vision for allergen management best practice in the food industry”
Authors: R. Ward, R. Crevel, I. Bell, N. Khandke, C. Ramsay and S. Paine

Related topics: Policy

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