Food allergies are becoming increasingly common, and recent consumer research commissioned by Food Standards Scotland shows that 15% of people surveyed either have a food allergy themselves or have someone in their household with a food allergy*.
Food Standards Scotland has launched a new food allergy alert service, whereby people in Scotland who have a food allergy or intolerance can sign up for text or email alerts so that they’re first to know when there is an issue with missing or incorrect allergen information on food labels.
People can subscribe to the free service at the Food Standards Scotland homepage. The service gives the option to receive specific alerts about issues involving any of the 14 ingredients, which must be mentioned as allergens on food and drink packaging in the UK**.
Information about the presence of the 14 allergens also needs to be available to consumers for food and drink products sold in restaurants, cafes, takeaways etc and loosely from deli counters, as well as premises selling food which has been packed on site such as boxed salads or packaged sandwiches.
The service is free and you can sign up for real time texts on your phone and/or a daily email.
Head of Food Standards Scotland’s Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit, Ron McNaughton, said:
“Food allergies can significantly impact people’s quality of life, and Food Standards Scotland is here to make sure people with food allergies or intolerances have the information they need to make informed choices.
“We work closely with local authorities, food businesses, and the Food Standards Agency to make people in Scotland aware of any allergen information issues and we’d urge anyone with a food allergy in Scotland to sign up for tailored food allergy alerts by text or email. People can access the new service from the foodstandards.gov.scot homepage.
“We’re pleased the World Allergy Organization is putting the global problem of food allergies in the spotlight with World Allergy Week.”
Nurse Advisor at Allergy UK, Holly Shaw, said:
“Making safe choices is an important part of day-to-day living with a food allergy.
“Alert services like this are a great way of communicating information that enable the food allergic person to stay informed and safe.”
*Source: Food Standards Scotland Consumer Tracking Survey, Wave 7 (December 2018). Based on a sample of 1046 people in Scotland.
**The 14 allergens: cereals containing gluten, eggs, mustard, sesame seeds, tree nuts, crustaceans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites, celery, milk, soybeans, peanuts, fish, molluscs and lupin. 14 Allergens Poster – displays the 14 major allergens which need to be mentioned when they are used as ingredients in food.