New allergen labelling law to be introduced by government

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The government plans to introduce the new legislation this summer which will mandate full ingredients labelling for foods which are prepacked for direct sale. It is proposed that the new laws will come into force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by summer 2021 – giving food businesses time to adapt to the change.

The Government Chemist has a long standing interest in food allergy, focused around acknowledged difficulties in allergen analysis. We are hosting an international meeting of Professor Clare Mills’ Manchester Food Allergy Network, MFAN, on Wednesday, 3 July 2019. Organised by Professor Mills, Michael Walker and Gill Holcombe, the meeting will discuss a framework for developing best practice guidance for allergen analysis.

We are also collaborating with Professor Katrina Campbell of the Institute of Global Food Security in Queen’s University Belfast in organising a conference on 21 October 2019 looking at the human, analytical and regulatory implications of food allergy.

The Government Chemist strives to understand industry best practice so as to interpret allergen measurement results in the right context and offer advice to businesses, regulators, enforcement authorities and consumers on request to prevent harm to consumers.

Michael Walker commented on the Government announcement today:

Allergen management in the food industry is a complex and increasingly pressing issue, with pre-packaged foods constituting a larger proportion of what we eat. Regulation which ensures clarity about ingredients and food manufacturing processes will help reduce risk to consumers.

More information about the Government announcement

For more information about food testing, allergens or the work the Government Chemist carries out contact:

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