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