The prevalence of food allergy is increasing and the condition can have severe effects, including breathing difficulties, anaphylaxis and in rare instances, death. Accordingly, legislation has been put in place to ensure that allergic consumers are informed of the intentional inclusion of key food allergens.
In the EC, Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 requires the provision of allergen information on both prepacked and non-prepacked foods when allergens are intentionally incorporated in foods. In the USA, the “Food Allergen Labelling and Consumer Protection Act” (FALCPA) came into force early in 2006; also mandates the clear labelling of particular food allergens.
In the EC the intentional presence of the following foods must be listed in the ingredients: celery/celeriac; cereals (wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut or their hybridised strains); crustacea, eggs; fish; lupin; milk; molluscs (gastropods, bivalves, cephalopods), mustard; peanuts; sesame; soya & tree nuts (almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, pecan, Brazil, pistachio, macadamia/Queensland). In the USA the list is similar but includes only those foods in italics above.
Food business operators are being advised by food protection agencies and consumer advocacy groups to restrict the use of so-called “may contain” precautionary allergen labelling/information to food products whose preparation have been assessed using quantitative risk assessments and for which the presence of undeclared allergens is both significant and unavoidable.
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