UK – The Food Standards Agency of the United Kingdom has recommended that increased allergen information should be provided on pre-packed direct sale food to give consumers greater confidence in the food they eat.

According to FSA, more extensive food labelling will help protect specially consumers who are conscious of what they eat.

This is part of the strategy to ensure a transparent food chain while putting in consideration food allergy and intolerance.

Following the submission from the Board, the agency has agreed that full ingredient labelling should be mandatory for all pre-packed food for direct sale.

Full ingredient labelling requirement is meant to deliver a significant improvement, and greater consistency by following the same labelling system that consumers are familiar with, as found on packaged food.

“Food allergies and intolerance affects millions of people and its impact can be as big or bigger than almost all other foodborne diseases,” said Heather Hancock, Food Standards Agency Chair.

“That is why we have concluded that more extensive food labelling is the right outcome to provide greater protection for consumers but introduced in a way that we can be confident will work.

“While it is impossible to eliminate the risks entirely, we consider that this change along with other measures we are prioritising will deliver more effective protection for allergic consumers.”

Protecting ‘hypersensitive consumers’

The board has committed to promote and accelerate the sharing of best practice across the industry and improve awareness in businesses and the public.

FSA recently published Board paper on food allergies and intolerances with a goal to review and endorse the program in protecting the hypersensitive consumers.

Last October, the UK government announced review of allergen labelling for food that is Pre-Packed for Direct Sale (PPDS) following the conclusion of the Coroner’s inquest into the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

Natasha died in July 2016 after consuming a baguette which contained sesame seeds as an ingredient, in an allergy-related case.

‘Prepacked foods for direct sale’ are foods that have been packed on the same premises from which they are being sold e.g., a packaged sandwich or salad.

Currently, these foods are not required to carry labels and information on allergens, as it is expected that the customer can speak with the person who made or packed the product for this information.

The decision by the Board will be the basis for the formal advice provided to Ministers who will take the final decision.