Australian food industry still struggling with allergen labelling laws

The number of food recalls due to the undeclared presence of allergens rose by more than 25 per cent in Australia in 2018 compared with the previous year. In a media report accompanying the release of this data, Mark Booth, Chief Executive Officer of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) reminded food businesses in Australia of the critical need to know the mandatory allergen labelling requirements in the Food Standards Code.

According to the data, the causes of allergen-related recalls can be categorised into four main reasons: packaging errors; supplier verification issues; lack of skills and knowledge of labelling requirements; and accidental cross contamination.

In the past three years, customer complaints were the main method of detecting the need to instigate an allergen-related recall. Routine testing by the company and routine government testing were other main triggers for recalls due to incorrect allergen labelling.

FSANZ says they, along with other enforcement agencies, will continue to communicate with food businesses to ensure labelling requirements and their importance are understood.

The FSANZ media release  provides additional information, including links to the latest recall data and an overview of the mandatory allergen labelling requirements in Australia and New Zealand.