CIEH and TiFSiP launch food allergen white paper ahead of Breakfast Briefing

Publication Date: 1st September 2015

Subject: Food safety

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and The Institute of Food Safety Integrity & Protection (TiFSiP) have launched a new white paper on precautionary food allergen labelling following calls from the food industry for greater clarity and guidance.  



The white paper considers the use of precautionary ‘may contain’ allergen statements and suggests that current approaches should be changed to improve the accuracy and reliability of information provided to consumers with food allergies.

Suggested measures contained within the white paper to improve the use of ‘may contain’ allergen statements include:

  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.

To promote further discussion of the issues raised by the paper and to allow for questions to be answered by a panel of experts, there will be a Corporate Breakfast Briefing at the end of September held in London.

Since the introduction of the Food Information Regulations (FIR) in 2014 consumers can now expect accurate information on the 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 as there is still the risk of potential and unintentional presence of allergens due to cross-contamination.

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, however, some businesses struggle to provide consistent, precise and reliable information about the allergen risks present due to cross-contamination in their supply chain.   

At previous CIEH and TiFSiP events a number of food businesses have raised questions about the best way to address uncertainties around ‘may contain’ statements. As a result, TiFSiP and the CIEH brought key stakeholders together to discuss the issues and how they could be addressed at an expert roundtable held in June 2015.

The white paper considers these concerns and explores the potential liability issues related to the use of ‘may contain’ statements by food service businesses, identifies measures that could reduce uncertainty related to the provision and interpretation of ‘may contain’ statements, as well as  identifying key guidance documents. 

'may contain' food allergen white paperEoghan Daly, TiFSiP’s policy and technical advisor, said: “Improving the use of ‘may contain’ allergen statements, particularly in the food service sector, will not be easy but it is vital to help to protect consumers with allergies and intolerances. Input will be required from across the supply chain, regulators, and also from organisations representing allergic consumers. TiFSiP is delighted play its part.” 

Frank Post, CIEH’s Executive Director of Commercial Services, said: “We continually look for ways to support the food industry and together with our TiFSiP colleagues, we believe this white paper provides them with useful information about how to pass on ‘may contain’ statements to consumers.”

The white paper is available as a PDF download from the TiFSiP ( website.

If you are a corporate organisation interested in attending the Corporate Breakfast Briefing please register at


Notes to editor   

About CIEH  

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved 

The CIEH is a leading provider of regulated qualifications and operates in over 50 countries, assisting employers to comply with legal requirements and best practice while offering employees fit for purpose training. The portfolio includes: Food Safety, Health and Safety, Fire Safety, First Aid, Licensing, Environmental Protection, Education and Training. 

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities 

The CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection 

15Hatfields is the organisation’s sustainable events venue:  

For more information, visit Follow the CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH  

About TiFSiP  

The Institute of Food Safety Integrity & Protection (TiFSiP) is an inclusive membership organisation for individuals and organisations who work to keep food safe, healthy and trustworthy. It facilitates collaboration among the food community and keeps members informed about new ways of working and protecting consumers. 

TiFSiP works to ensure members have information to underpin the development of the skills and capabilities necessary to deliver safe food by: 

  • Helping members to understand food safety and integrity requirements, through provision of analysis of issues and case studies. 
  • Facilitating Continuing Professional Development e.g. through webinars and events (currently UK based), as well as through development of knowledge from the online information provision. 
  • Providing opportunities for networking, online, through TiFSiP’s private and public communities. 
  • Encouraging collaborative working, formal or informal, with peers and experts across the food community (for example, updating professional colleagues or developing good practice advice). 

See more at:   

For additional information please contact: 

Emily Boneham 

The McOnie Agency 

Tel: 01483 414751 



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