The following is a media release from Food Standards Australia New Zealand and is included here with permission.
Second call for comment – Plain English Allergen Labelling
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) today released a second call for comment on a proposal to make allergen information clearer, more consistent and prominent on food labels.
FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth said the Plain English Allergen Labelling Proposal (PEAL) reflects a significant amount of work undertaken by FSANZ, including a first round of public consultation in 2018.
“Our first call for comment showed broad support for changes to make sure that allergen labelling is clear and in plain English and consumers have the information they need to make informed and safe food choices.
“Based on this feedback, our second consultation paper includes draft amendments to the Food Standards Code.
“Currently the Food Standards Code requires 11 foods which can cause severe reactions to be declared whenever they are present as an ingredient, food additive or processing aid.
“However, there are no requirements about how and where the declarations must be made on packaging.
“Our research identified that consumers often struggle to understand complex names used for allergenic ingredients such as ‘sodium caseinate’. This proposal would require the use of simpler language such as ‘milk’.
“Consumer research also indicated that having labels in a prominent and consistent location on packaging would be beneficial. This proposal sets requirements for how and where allergen declarations are presented on packaging, including in bold font,” Mr Booth said.
The period for comment closes at 6pm (Canberra time) Thursday 27 February 2020.
All FSANZ decisions on applications are notified to the ministers responsible for food regulation, who can ask for a review or agree that the standard should become law.
Media contact: 0401 714 265 (Australia) or +61 401 714 265 (from New Zealand)