A laptop displaying Campden BRI's e-book 'Managing Food Allergens'

Source: Getty Images

A new e-book has been created to help food manufacturers, including bakeries, ensure allergen information on their labelling is accurate, clear and easy to understand.

Produced by research association Campden BRI, the ‘Managing Food Allergens’ e-book is available for free download.

“This is a complex and ever-developing area which food businesses need to ensure they are addressing effectively and thoroughly,” said Helen Arrowsmith, regulatory affairs manager and allergen specialist at Campden BRI.

Food allergies are said to affect up to 10% of adults and 8% of children globally. Many individuals have food hypersensitivity, where they experience an adverse reaction to specific foods, ranging from mild irritation to potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.

A study released in February 2023 revealed that of the 1,036 recalls in the UK from 2016 to 2021, published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS), more than half (597) were related to allergens.

In addition, figures from 2019 to 2020 showed that there were more than 7,700 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of allergic food reactions in the UK, while an average of 10 food allergy-related deaths are recorded annually.

“These cases can be the result of cross-contact in the production process,” said Christopher James, Campden BRI’s safety and quality specialist – allergens, noting that their recent poll revealed 70% of food and drink industry professionals considered it to be the biggest challenge when dealing with food allergens.

“Cross-contact or lack of information can occur at any stage of food production. Our new e-book: ‘Managing Food Allergens’ is a guide to understanding food hypersensitivity and how allergen cross-contact can occur. It also includes information on labelling and testing to aid the production of safe food,” James added.

Helen Arrowsmith, Regulatory Affairs Manager and Allergen Specialist of Campden BRI.

Source: Campden BRI

Helen Arrowsmith, regulatory affairs manager and allergen specialist at Campden BRI

Arrowsmith described the new Campden BRI guide as essential reading for food and drink professionals. “Since food allergens cannot be removed from products once they are present, and generally cannot be destroyed by treatments typically used for killing microorganisms, effective food allergen management and accurate labelling and provision of information are essential for ensuring the safety of food for consumers with food hypersensitivity,” she commented.

The e-book comes shortly after the FSA released a report on the impact that Natasha’s Law has had on businesses and consumers. Officially named the UK Food Information Amendment 2019, it requires businesses selling prepacked for direct sale food items to attach a label with a full list of ingredients and allergens emphasised.

As another free-to-use tool for businesses, the FSS launched its Advanced Online Allergen Training programme in May.