Food Allergies

This EUFIC report dealt with a number of aspects concerning food allergens and allergies including the prevalence, most common causes, food industry and how to keep up to date with changes to allergy labelling.

Self-reported food allergy in Europe has previously been reported to range from 3-35%. Interestingly this new report highlights that of those who think they have a food allergy only 1 to 11% of these people have had their allergy confirmed.

The most common causes of food allergy in the UK are peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, cows’ milk, crustacean/molluscs/shellfish, soya beans, and cereals containing gluten although this can vary slightly in other countries. Many factors are thought to contribute to the development of food allergies: genetics, increased exposure to new foods, location, developments in food processing and developments in food technologies.

The food industry are legally obligated to produce safe food for consumers. This is ensured through the use of HACCP which is a food safety management system which ensures potential hazards (i.e. biological, physical and chemical hazards) are identified and strategies are put in place to control them before they threaten the safety of the food. Food labelling is also essential to assist consumers, who have allergies or intolerances, by providing them with information on the composition of foodstuffs.

Many food safety agencies across Europe, such as the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), are actively involved in the issuing of food allergen alerts. Consumers can subscribe to these to receive the most up to date information on inadequate or incorrect allergen labelling.

Posted: 14/11/2013 16:21:42 by Laura Keaver


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