Although the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s allergen control standard will be the starting point for the new standard, it will be refined and further developed in the coming months by a committee of stakeholders including trade and professional bodies.
Work on the new standard will progress over the next 18 months and a draft for public comment is likely to be available in late 2011 or early 2012.
While the new standard will not be exactly the same as the Anaphylaxis Campaign's standard, which was launched in November 2007 but axed in 2009, it is only likely to gain traction if at least one of the major supermarkets gets behind it.
However, Sara Walton from BSI's quality, health and safety department, said leading food retailers had been present at a preliminary meeting to discuss the next steps for the standard.
Do we need another standard?
While the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s standard was more comprehensive than the British Retail Consortium (BRC) global standard when it came to allergen management, the industry proved reluctant to spend extra cash on training and accreditation to the standard, while the logo attached to it also proved controversial.
Given that manufacturers were already subject to multiple audits, many also felt they could not justify signing up to another accreditation scheme.
Meanwhile, the newly beefed up allergen control section in version five of the BRC Global food standard has also gone some way to addressing concerns about the lack of focus in allergens in earlier versions.
Improved understanding of allergen management
David Reading, who founded the Anaphylaxis campaign and is now running a consultancy called Food Allergy Support, said food manufacturers still needed support, advice and training when it came to managing allergens in their supply chains, particularly in the area of risk assessment of allergen controls.
The amount of 'may contain' labelling out there also suggested that more work was needed on educating manufacturers about where this was and wasn't necessary/appropriate, he said.
*Firms wishing to find out more about the new standard can contact Sara Walton at email@example.com