Getting ‘May Contain‘ labelling right is difficult
Tifsip have created a white paper ‘Improving the Use of ‘May Contains’ allergen statements to help the food service industry.
Since the introduction of the Food Information Regulations (FIRs) in 2014 consumers can expect accurate information on 14 different allergenic ingredients in all types of food, whether packaged or served as a meal or snack. Unfortunately this is not the end of the problem for consumers with food allergies. There is still the issue, due to cross-contamination, of potential and unintentional presence of allergenic material.
The vast majority of food businesses work hard to ensure that food is safe, both in terms of hygiene and in the accurate declaration of the presence of allergens. Despite their best efforts some businesses struggle to provide consistent, precise and reliable information about the allergen risks present due to cross-contamination in their supply chain.
Voluntary measures are in place to warn vulnerable consumers of risks, in the form of precautionary ‘may contain’ statements. Deciding when to use a ‘may contain’ statement is not straightforward. Food businesses that pass on all ‘may contain’ statements, without being confident they are accurate, can ‘devalue’ the warning, reduce choice, and potentially provide false impressions about the allergy risks. Similarly, blanket approaches that ignore all ‘may contain’ declarations could provide false assurances to consumers with food allergies.
In response to a request from food businesses, The Institute of Food Safety Integrity & Protection (TiFSiP) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) brought key stakeholders together to discuss the issues and how they could be addressed. The results of the discussion were published in a White Paper on 1st September, available to the food industry to download for free.
To download the whitepaper please click here