May contain nuts

Posted on 27 Oct 2010 by The Manufacturer

The Food and Drink Federation helps members cope with increasing pressures over regulation and risk management around food allergens with a new best practice paper published today.

The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Allergens Steering Group has published ‘A Vision for Allergen Management Best Practice in the Food Industry’, which sets out a consistent allergen management approach based on quantitative assessment of risk. The paper helps manufacturers in the food and drink sector to minimise the risk of allergen contamination with the aim of boosting the confidence of customers with allergies will also opening up their freedom of product choice.

While current practices in allergen management have increased the safety of food products for allergic consumers, there is an agreed industry standard. This has led to excessive use of precautionary ‘may contain’ labelling in a sector already over-burdened with labelling regulations. It has also caused an associated reduction in consumer trust.

Focusing on adding value to end consumers, the food industry the paper proposes a vision for best practice based on a shift from the current hazard-based approach to a risk-based approach. Setting action levels for allergen management that are firmly rooted in scientific and clinical knowledge, will allow industry to consistently apply precautionary labelling, and clearly communicate the allergen status of a food consistently.

The approach recognises that minimising the risk from allergenic foods is a shared responsibility between the food industry, regulators, health professionals and by allergy sufferers themselves.
Rachel Ward, Chair of the FDF Allergens Steering Group said: “We firmly believe that industry risk management practices are sufficiently capable to deliver this vision to the highest standards. We hope that this paper will fuel the debate on policy implications amongst all stakeholders involved.”

Lynne Regent, Chief Executive Officer of the Anaphylaxis Campaign said: “The Anaphylaxis Campaign welcomes this 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.”