Food allergen labelling takes centre stage at CIEH corporate event

The CIEH recently held a breakfast briefing for corporate food businesses to discuss guidance and best practice arising from a whitepaper on ‘may contain’ food allergen labelling launched at the beginning of September.  

 'may contain' food allergen white paper

The breakfast briefing was held on Tuesday 22 September at CIEH’s Headquarters close to the South Bank and was attended by safety professionals from the food industry.

Delegates were given the opportunity to read the joint CIEH and TiFSiP white paper, titled lmproving the use of ‘may contain’ allergen statements, before the event and on the day a panel of food experts helped stimulate debate, discuss the whitepaper and share their own experiences on how they dealt with ‘may contain’ food allergen labelling.

The panel included: Rachel Ward, a Food Safety and Scientific Regulatory Affairs Management Consultant for R.Ward Consultancy Ltd.; Morning Foods’s Technical Director, Derek Croucher; and Lynne Regent, the Chief Executive at The Anaphylaxis Campaign, the only UK wide charity operating solely for the growing numbers of people at risk from severe allergic reactions and anaphylaxis.

Lynne Regent spoke on behalf of consumers who suffer from severe allergic reactions, stating clearly that a more consistent and simplified approach is required on food allergen labelling to instil consumer confidence.

Morning Foods’ Derek Croucher then spoke about the company’s efforts to protect public health and what he considered to be the two main challenges in doing that; risk of cross contamination in the manufacturing units and the lack of control through the supply chain.

To reduce the risk of cross contamination, Morning Foods train their operators to be vigilant, as well as ‘engineer’ out the risks. In relation to the supply chain, Morning Foods takes a common sense approach and uses the VITAL 2 as a risk assessment tool.

Rachel Ward, the last of the experts to speak on the panel, spoke about the importance of hygiene and cleaning in food manufacturing to reduce the presence of allergens. 

The breakfast briefing concluded with Jenny Morris, Head of TiFSiP, calling the delegates to consider joining a working-group on food allergen labelling with the aim to further consider the three recommendations in the white paper:

  1. Consistent use of authoritative guidance, along the supply chain, to improve consistency and reliability
  2. Limiting and simplifying the range of ‘may contain’ descriptors
  3. Establishing threshold levels for allergen contaminants to improve risk management and communication

If you are a corporate organisation interested in joining the food allergen working group please register at corporate@cieh.org.

 

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