The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) published new guidance to help food and drink businesses understand the actions they should consider when managing changes that impact the allergen labeling on pre-packaged products.
The FDF Guidance on Change Management of Allergen Information, supported by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), includes best practice considerations such as additional consumer communications and the importance of information sharing across the whole supply chain. In the UK, there are around two million people who have a food allergy and rely on food labels to inform their food choices.
Managing allergens, whether as an ingredient or a risk of cross-contamination, requires thorough risk assessments. The guidance provides steps to be considered and incorporated into food safety management procedures.
The guidance includes precautionary allergen labeling (PAL) – ‘may contain [allergen]’:
- PAL is an unavoidable cross-contact risk PAL statements should only be used where a risk of allergen cross-contact is identified that cannot be sufficiently controlled (e.g. by segregation or cleaning)
- PAL is NOT a disclaimer to avoid legal food safety management responsibilities
- The absence of a PAL statement does NOT mean the same as a substantiated ‘Free-From’ claim
The resource also includes guides to adding PAL and for the removal of PAL.
FDF’s Regulatory Manager Olayemi Fashesin-Souza said: “It is important for food businesses to know their food supply chains and processes, so they understand the impact that changes can have on the allergen profile of pre-packed foods. Having food that is safe to eat and clear information are essential for consumers with a food hypersensitivity. Our guidance offers clear, practical and actionable advice which helps promote better practices and understanding across the food supply chain.”
The guidance has been developed in collaboration with experts from across the FDF membership and aims to promote better understanding across the wider food industry.
It complements the newly updated FSA Technical Guidance on Food Allergen Labelling and Information Requirements and previously issued FDF regulatory guidance on ’Allergen’-Free and Vegan Claims and Gluten Labeling.
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