Date Published: 21 April 2009

Allergy advice helps businesses

An evaluation of the UK Food Standard Agency's allergy guidance has found that most businesses and local authority food law enforcement officers find it helpful. Of those surveyed, all manufacturers and 96% of enforcement officers, who are aware of the FSA's 2006 best practice allergy guidance, found it useful.

The voluntary best practice guidance on allergen management and consumer information focuses on ways that businesses can avoid allergen cross-contamination in factories and advises on using appropriate allergy labelling.

The purpose of the evaluation was to determine how aware businesses are of the guidance, how applicable it is, and whether any improvements could be made.

About 400 manufacturers, retailers and training bodies were interviewed.

The main findings included the following:

  • 53% of food manufacturers and 81% of large businesses are aware of the full guidance and/or the leaflet
  • 100% of manufacturers and 96% of enforcement officers, who are aware of the guidance, rate the full guidance as useful
  • 90% of enforcement officers are using the guidance
  • among manufacturers, the FSA was the most recalled and influential organisation when thinking about food allergy

Of the UK businesses that had read the guidance, some used it to check the adequacy of their existing procedures. For others, it led them to make fundamental changes to the way that they control allergens within their premises. This is particularly helpful to sufferers of a wide variety of food allergies such as nut allergies, dairy allergies and so on.

In addition, some helpful suggestions were made for additional advice to be provided by the Agency.

Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA), UK

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