Stop using blanket labelling!

25th April 2014 - Fine Cut
Stop using blanket labelling!

Parents who shop at Tesco are joining together with thousands of other consumers to petition against the supermarket's blanket labelling of products with allergen warnings.

Seemingly overnight, Tesco has overhauled its labelling policy, meaning many foods previously deemed to be safe for those with allergies are now no-gos. While foods such as chocolate and biscuits are expected to come with such warnings, reports suggest Tesco has extended this message to other perhaps unexpected items, such as butternut squash, potatoes and fruit juice.

Campaigners have branded the move "disruptive" and claim it is making life very difficult for families trying to feed little ones with allergies.

So far, Tesco has not explained why it is that these foods suddenly 'may contain nuts' when this wasn't the case beforehand. It is thought it may be down to new EU legislation on allergen labelling. Nevertheless, this is not good enough for the parents who maintain Tesco are using blanket labelling as a legal disclaimer and to avoid having to implement proper checking procedures to ensure food items are safe for those with allergies.

The petition was launched by Portsmouth mum Clare Hussein who has a three-year-old daughter with multiple allergies. 

In the introduction to the petition, which people can sign here, Ms Hussein highlights just how many people might be affected by the new system. 

"The fact is that as many as seven in 100 children and three in 100 adults have at least one food allergy. One in 100 adults and two in 100 children are allergic to nuts," she says, commenting that the fact a nut could kill her child is nothing short of "horrifying".

As of Friday morning (April 25th), the petition had almost reached 15,000 supporters.

The importance of correctly labelling food with allergen warnings has also been highlighted in news from across the pond. In the US, Kraft Foods is having to voluntarily recall 96,000 lb (43,545 kg) of its Oscar Mayer hot dogs, as a result a different item being sold in its packaging.

Officials say the company's Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners might have accidentally been packed with Kraft’s Classic Cheese Dogs, which contain the allergen milk, and not labelled accordingly.

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