15 June, 2020
The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) welcomes the findings of the House of Representatives Health, Aged Care and Sport Committee report: Walking the allergies tightrope: addressing the rise of allergies and anaphylaxis in Australia that was tabled today, 15 June 2020.
The AFGC, and the wider food industry, take food allergen management and labelling very seriously. Managing the risks associated with the presence of food allergens in ingredients and products is a major food safety focus for food producers and suppliers at all levels of the supply chain.
Acting AFGC CEO Dr Geoffrey Annison said the AFGC congratulates the Committee for their diligent work for the inquiry into this significant area.
“It is well recognised that food allergens are a substantial and potentially fatal hazard for some consumers. Manufacturers of packaged food products go to great lengths to reduce allergen risks to consumers for legal, commercial and moral reasons.
“The AFGC made a submission and provided evidence in person at the hearings and we welcome this report out today, supporting a number of recommendations, which address training for food preparation and a continued focus on food labelling improvements, each of which the AFGC sees as a positive outcome for industry” said Dr Annison.
The food industry is continually improving its understanding of how food allergens can be better managed resulting in better, more accurate labelling for consumers. This report is another step in the right direction, tying in nicely with the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) review into allergen labelling requirements on packaged food under Proposal 1044. It should result in regulatory changes leading to better allergen labelling of food products which will be clearer, more consistent across food products, and more useful for consumers with allergies in identifying the food products they can eat, and those they must avoid.
“We look forward to working with the regulators and FSANZ to see what practical steps can be taken to improve labelling for all consumers so they can continue buying and eating our sector’s great products safely.” Dr Annison said.
Source: Australian Food & Grocery Council.