This may contain labelThe consultations seek views on regulated product applications for six novel foods that have been submitted for authorisation to the FSA and on precautionary allergen labelling and precautionary allergen information, such as “may contain”, on many types of food.

The six novel foods have already been evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which now sits outside of the food safety regime in Great Britain.

The allergen labelling consultation seeks views so the FSA can plan its approach to ensure that precautionary allergen labelling is communicated clearly and consistently, in an understandable and meaningful way to consumers, and based on a proportionate standardised process for assessing, managing and communicating the risk of allergen cross-contamination.

The consultation on precautionary allergen labelling, otherwise known as ‘may contain’ warnings, follows hot on the heels of the requirement to label ingredients and allergens on foods which are prepacked for direct sale, which came into force in October 2021 (“Natasha’s Law”). Mis-declaring or mis-labelling allergens in foods and drinks is a relatively common error, sometimes due to mistakes in production, and sometimes due to mistakes caused by suppliers. Such errors often lead to recalls, as they can make a product unsafe for those with relevant sensitivities, as well as breaching labelling laws. Currently, there are no mandatory requirements for ‘may contain’ labelling, but such labelling is used by producers where there may be a risk of cross-contamination with allergens, to ensure that there is adequate warning for those allergic to the relevant contaminant.

The consultations close on 11 February and 14 March, respectively. We will report further when the FSA publishes its response. To get these updates delivered directly to your inbox subscribe now.

This update is part of the January 2022 edition of our frESH Law Horizons newsletter.