FSA launches consultation on 'may contain' packaging

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The consultation opens on 6 December and runs until 14 March 2022
The consultation opens on 6 December and runs until 14 March 2022

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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a consultation to gather views from businesses and consumers on the use of precautionary allergen information and labels, often written as 'may contain' on food packaging.

It said that recent FSA studies have found that people who live with food allergies, intolerances, or coeliac disease  appreciate precautionary allergen information or labelling. 

But it added that consumers can be confused by the range of precautionary labelling statements on prepacked foods, such as chocolate bars, biscuits and other products sold in supermarkets, where the wording can differ between products and it may not be clear precisely what the risk is.

Precautionary allergen information

The FSA said it is also seeking views on the provision of precautionary allergen information about non-prepacked foods, such as meals served in restaurants. 

FSA director of policy, Rebecca Sudworth, said:  “Consumers have told us that inconsistency in how precautionary allergen labelling and information is given can cause a lack of trust in the labels and stop them being able to enjoy certain foods. 

“We know that precautionary allergen information is difficult for businesses and local authorities responsible for enforcing the law, and we very keen to hear from them about how to make the law clearer and easier to follow.

Workable system

“The responses we get will help inform our next steps in making a workable system for businesses to put into practice that consumers understand and trust.” ​ 

The consultation​ on precautionary allergen information opens on 6 December and runs until 14 March 2022, and the FSA will also be gathering the opinions of businesses, local authority food teams responsible for enforcing the law, industry bodies and consumers through a series of in-depth workshops. 



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