The practice and perception of precautionary allergen labelling by the Australasian food manufacturing industry

G. A. Zurzolo, R. L. Peters, J. J. Koplin, M. de Courten, M. L. Mathai, J. A. Tye-Din, M. L.K. Tang, D. E. Campbell, A. L. Ponsonby, S. L. Prescott, L. Gurrin, S. C. Dharmage, K. J. Allen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: The precautionary allergen labelling (PAL) and Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL®) tools were designed by industry to assist consumers with selecting safe foods for consumption. However, a sizeable proportion of food products bear no label, and it is unclear whether these products are free from allergens and therefore safe to consume or have simply not undergone a risk assessment and therefore remain unlabelled for that reason. Objective: To assess the prevalence of unlabelled products that have undergone a risk assessment process and to examine the factors influencing industry's uptake of the VITAL® process. Methods: A web-based questionnaire was distributed to Australasian food and grocery manufacturers. Results: One hundred and thirty-seven Australasian manufacturers were contacted, and 59 questionnaires were returned (response rate: 43%). The respondents represented 454 different manufacturing sites. Manufacturers reported that 23% (95% CI 19-28) of products (n=102/434) that had been through the VITAL® risk assessment process had no PAL statement on the label. 34% (95% CI 30-38), (n=204/600) of products that had undergone another (non-VITAL®) risk assessment process had no PAL statement. In examining the factors that influenced industry's uptake of the VITAL® process, 25 manufacturers reported on factors that influenced the uptake of the VITAL® process, 76% (CI 95% 55-91) reported that VITAL® was an effective tool because it was based on science; 52% (CI 95% 31-72) reported that it was too time-consuming and 36% (CI 95% 18-57) identified a concern with it not being endorsed by the government. Conclusion and Clinical Relevance: Currently, we estimate that at least 30% of products may have been through a risk assessment process and yet bear no PAL statement on the label. Permissive labelling could be incorporated onto these products if they have been assessed to be safe for consumption.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)961-968
    Number of pages8
    JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
    Volume47
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The practice and perception of precautionary allergen labelling by the Australasian food manufacturing industry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Zurzolo, G. A., Peters, R. L., Koplin, J. J., de Courten, M., Mathai, M. L., Tye-Din, J. A., Tang, M. L. K., Campbell, D. E., Ponsonby, A. L., Prescott, S. L., Gurrin, L., Dharmage, S. C., & Allen, K. J. (2017). The practice and perception of precautionary allergen labelling by the Australasian food manufacturing industry. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 47(7), 961-968. https://doi.org/10.1111/cea.12923