26 Apr

Bitesize training: food allergen precautionary advice and labels

CIEH member: £50
Affiliate member: £105
Non-member: £105 

Two-hour bitesize training

Time: 10.00 - 12.00

Please note that this training will be delivered via the Zoom online platform.  Please ensure that you are able to access this prior to booking.

How do I pay? Please click on the book now to complete the online booking. If your local authority does not allow credit card payments please speak to our contact centre: 020 7827 5800, or email [email protected] 

Online (Zoom)

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This bitesize event will be delivered by Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight, who has been involved in several high-profile food allergen cases. She will discuss how precautionary ‘may contain’ labels are used in food labelling, with a particular focus on their use in food manufacturing and catering.

An understanding of the precautionary labelling requirements, in relation to ‘may contain’, is critical for regulators, as well as food industry personnel. Those with food hypersensitivities need accurate risk information, which unnecessary allergen precautions can restrict.

Benchmarked levels are frequently used by food manufacturers to determine when to use ‘may contain’ on a label. This event will look at the most used benchmark system, Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL), and will discuss what food allergen reference labelling actually means.

With a few exceptions, there are no defined allergen threshold standards in UK law. This event will look at how the reference standards sit in relation to food safety legal requirements and how edible goods are required to contain the correct ingredients as advertised to the consumer.


  • To explore circumstances where precautionary labelling would be considered a legal requirement
  • To explore the significance and use of allergen reference doses, including their use to trigger precautionary (e.g. ‘may contain’) labelling


  • To enable regulators to better understand allergen benchmarks when assessing compliance of food safety systems, ingredient and precautionary allergen labelling on food
  • To enable industry practitioners to better understand allergen benchmarks and how they fit into reasonable precautions, a part of due diligence


Delegates will become familiar with and gain a deeper understanding of the legislative context including:

  • How the same food can be deemed unsafe for some consumers but not for others
  • Labelling requirements when a product contains an allergen below its reference level
  • The relevance of allergen reference levels to food labelling requirements and trace levels and precautionary labelling
  • Whether a vegan claim means a product is egg and milk-free from an allergen content perspective

With regard to allergen threshold levels, delegates will become familiar with:

  • Allergen reference doses and how they are established
  • Current and historic reference doses for a range of common food allergens
  • The significance of ED01 compared with ED05

With regard to a manufacturing setting, delegates will gain an understanding of the practical approach to determining when ‘may contain’ labelling can be justified.

With regard to catering/hospitality settings, delegates will be able to understand the balance between practical controls and relevant precautionary allergen statements.

Who should attend?

  • Regulatory officers responsible for allergens, compliance, inspections and investigations, including Environmental Health Practitioners and Trading Standards Officers.
  • Food industry safety practitioners with responsibility for allergen control.

CPD: 2 hours

Belinda Moonlight

Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight is a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner. Belinda specialises in food safety and infectious intestinal disease control. Early on in her career, Belinda worked as an Environmental Health Officer in local government enforcement, before taking up a Junior Research Fellowship at King’s College, London. For the last twenty years, Belinda has run her own business providing consultancy, training, auditing and expert witness services. As an expert witness, the majority of her instructions focus on food contamination risk, and increasingly, injury and death from food allergy. Belinda is regularly sought after to provide opinion and consultancy for prosecution and defence, as well as, for organisations such as the Food Standards Agency (FSA), CIEH and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).

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