New labels from the Food Standards Agency could save lives

Food Standards Agency

New labels from the Food Standards Agency could save lives

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been tightening the rules and regulations on listing ingredients for a while. After a few preventable deaths, notably Natasha Ednan-Laperouse who died after eating a sandwich from Pret A Manger, the FSA is now calling on food outlets to provide thorough ingredient labels.

As it stands, food prepared and sold on site doesn’t legally require warning labels about any potential allergens. Instead, it’s down to those purchasing the food to ask staff. The flaws in this process are clear, and can ultimately lead to deaths. What if the staff members knowledge is lacking? What if the sellers don’t note any cross contamination? The what-ifs go on, but hopefully they will soon be put to rest.

Recently, the FSA discussed options to tackle this problem including promoting best practice in the food industry and introducing mandatory labels listing the 14 major allergens. This includes nuts, eggs, and milk. However, it’s the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs who will have the final say over this.

Is this plausible?

While there have been small amounts of opposition from businesses worried about the costs and resources involved in such a scheme, this mostly stems from misunderstanding.

The FSA chairwoman Heather Hancock said, “We are not talking about every fresh sandwich being made in a sandwich shop.”

It’s more plausible that the regulations will be for pre-packaged foods rather than each sandwich you may get at a subway for example, whose list of allergen should already be made available. The aim is to make eating a risk-free experience for people with allergies.

Ultimately, this issue threatens the lives of allergy sufferers across the UK, so we need to do something soon. How the government will implement these life-saving changes is yet to be determined but we have high hopes for positive changes coming our way.

If you have symptoms you can’t explain, you may have an allergy. Finding out has never been easier. Just book an appointment with one of our consultants, and they can test you for over 100 allergies at once.

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