Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has today (Wednesday 15 May) recommended improved allergen information on pre-packed foods for direct sale, for example foods such as sandwiches and salads which are made and packaged on the same premises where they are sold. The move follows the recommendations of the coroner’s report following the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and the outcome of a UK-wide public consultation on how best to improve allergen labelling on these types of pre-packed foods for direct sale.
At a public meeting today, the FSS Board reviewed and assessed responses to the consultation, and discussed consumer benefits as well as the risks associated with four options as set out in the consultation. It concluded that FSS should recommend moving towards full ingredient labelling of foods that are pre-packed for direct sale in Scotland, and that further work should be undertaken to assess the benefits and all of the risks in more detail.
Ross Finnie, Chair of Food Standards Scotland, said:
“Food allergies are a food safety issue and can have a significant impact on people’s lives. Tragically, in the most extreme cases, people can and do die from food allergies.
“Food Standards Scotland’s primary concern is consumer protection - making sure that food is safe to eat for all consumers. There are particular challenges for people with food allergies who have to be able to access the information they need to make the right choices when they’re buying and eating food.
“Consumers were very clear in the consultation that they want to see full ingredient labelling, and FSS will recommend to Scottish Ministers that we should work towards delivery of this, with a more detailed assessment of benefits and risks to be carried out to ensure we achieve that goal.
“It is also vital that consumers with food allergies continue to take responsibility for managing their condition, but to do so they need the best possible information. If in any doubt, ask.”
This recommendation is set in the context of government continuing to promote best practice and agreeing to undertake further work that would clarify the risks, and result in a staged implementation plan without unnecessary delay.
FSS’s recommendations will now be submitted to Scottish Ministers.
People in Scotland can subscribe to FSS’s food allergy alert service, to receive free text or email alerts so they are first to know when there is an issue with missing or incorrect allergen information on food labels.