The Parliamentary Inquiry into allergies and anaphylaxis in Australia, conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, has concluded with the publication of a 180-page report. The Committee has put forward 24 recommendations aimed at bringing changes that help to improve quality of life for people living with allergies.
Three of the recommendations relate to food labelling. There is also a recommendation that all food service and food preparation training modules include training on allergies and anaphylaxis, including the prevention of cross contact.
Precautionary Allergen Labelling was highlighted as an issue that causes frustration and anxiety for people with food allergy. The Committee heard that up to sixty-five per cent of processed foods have a precautionary allergen label and in response, recommended that the Allergen Bureau and FSANZ work collaboratively with the food industry to encourage the consistent use of the VITAL food allergen risk assessment program. They proposed the introduction of a VITAL ‘V’ tick on packaging to inform consumers that a food product has been assessed for certain allergens.
The Committee also recommends that any product that has changed its ingredients should have either new packaging alerting consumers to the reformulation or should have a sticker placed on the front stating clearly that new ingredients have been added.
The full report, titled ‘Walking the Allergy Tightrope’ can be downloaded from the Parliament of Australia website.