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Food allergens: practical risk analysis, testing and action levels 2013

Some 1-2% of adults and 5-8% of children have been reported to have a true food allergy. Very small amounts of an allergenic foodstuff can cause a severe or even fatal reaction, so food-allergic individuals adopt strict avoidance diets to prevent the consumption of food allergens. Family, friends and care-givers are also likely to adopt restrictive diets. It is therefore vitally important that correct allergen information is conveyed to consumers. A major component of this is to reduce the risk of cross-contamination of food products with allergens, and to communicate this risk to the consumer without unnecessarily restricting their food choices and those of their family and friends.

This guideline gives an overview of allergen management with reference to food safety management systems, including a systematic approach to aid identification of risk factors. General information is also provided on allergen testing. It then discusses the risks in relation to threshold levels – the smallest amount of an allergen likely to have a significant effect on the majority of allergic consumers – and the need or otherwise to include ‘may contain’ labelling on the food package.

Soft cover: 79 pages