Food organisations urged to pay closer attention to allergen labelling
With 2020’s World Accreditation Day focusing on food safety, health and safety firm Bureau Veritas has called on food organisations to pay closer attention to accurate allergen labelling, especially as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the industry.
Jointly established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), World Accreditation Day (WAD) is set to take place on 9 June 2020. WAD is a global initiative designed to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation and this year’s theme focuses on how accreditation supports food safety. The organisations have set out to highlight how accreditation can ensure competent and impartial inspection, certification and testing services in every part of local, national and international food chains.
In light of this, Bureau Veritas has stated that accurate food allergen labelling has never been more important to ensuring food safety, particularly as producers, takeaway restaurants and delivery services have seen a surge in demand during the recent coronavirus lockdown.
“This year’s World Accreditation Day and its focus on food safety comes during a very challenging time for the food industry due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” said Tracy Wain, Food Safety Technical Manager at Bureau Veritas.
“Hospitality closures have forced many outlets to offer takeaway-only services for the first time during the lockdown, and have had to quickly develop new contact-free and cashless delivery and takeaway collection methods. As such, the way in which allergen information is given to customers may have had to change.
“Meanwhile, food manufacturers are not only having to deal with supply-chain disruptions they are perhaps having to operate in a different way to ensure that social distancing can take place throughout the workplace.
“Amid these urgent priorities, not to be overlooked is the need for businesses to still ensure they are correctly labelling the 14 allergens set out by the Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) guidance – as required by law. This is vital to bolstering the confidence of consumers, suppliers, purchasers, and specifiers in the quality and safety of food as well as maintaining accreditation.”
According to Bureau Veritas, the food industry has been under increased pressure in recent years to provide accurate food allergen and ingredients labelling – and the coronavirus pandemic has only heightened this requirement.
“Consumers, the FSA and the government will expect this as the standard going forward. The good news is, with much of the industry already overhauling their operations and introducing new ways of working, now is the perfect time create, review and implement robust systems for food labelling, as ultimately, it could help to save lives,” Wain added.