Allergen labelling 'could be allowed by law'

12th November 2013 - Fine Cut

Plans to introduce voluntary allergen labelling for certain foods could be brought into law by the Food Information for Consumers Regulations (FIC) in the near future.

This is according to Rene Crevel, science leader for allergy and immunology with Unilever, who was quoted by Food Manufacturer as saying that the precautionary labelling would be based on allergic reaction thresholds.

Officials would draw upon "action levels" that the European food industry plans to use in order to make sure safe factory production is adopted to provide informative allergen labelling on products.

Mr Crevel, who is the chair of the food allergy taskforce of the European branch of the International Life Sciences Institute, said: "Should the European Food Safety Authority choose not to produce an opinion specifically on this particular problem, we should try to move forward based on the general science and industry agreement."

Clear and concise food labels are becoming increasingly important to members of the public, who want to know exactly what ingredients are found in the products they purchase. Allergen threshold labelling is designed to ensure greater transparency and consistency for consumers who have to avoid particular types of food for health reasons.

"There could be a debate as to whether the actual levels should be placed in the regulation, so that they can be revised more regularly," Mr Crevel added.

The official, who spoke at the Food Manufacture Food safety conference last month, said the new methods could provide a "high level of protection" to allergic consumers. He noted that 99 per cent will be totally protected, while those who are not completely safe will still be in a situation where they will experience mild reactions that are controllable.

Food labelling has been under the spotlight in recent months, as politicians across the eurozone continue to debate the prospect of introducing country of origin identification on food products.

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