Food Safety

Are you crystal clear on your use of PALs?

Are you crystal clear on your use of PALs? 

Precautionary allergen labels (PALs) which often appear on brand packaging as a warning “may contain” (nuts, milk etc) are having an in depth review.

The era of trusting brands is over for the general consumer, with rising levels of the public now taking action against brands that do not align with their ethics.  According to a report commissioned by Ecotone UK, we have seen a 25% increase (over the past two years) in the number of people buying food and drink based on the product’s sustainability credentials.

Transparency is key 

“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,” said FSA director of policy, Rebecca Sudworth.

What seems likely is that the FSA will develop new best practice standards for PALs to address current inconsistency in how they are used. These standards could also include efforts to harmonise information on the risk of cross-contamination within supply chains, while a new accreditation scheme for the analysis of allergen risk is also under consideration.

QADEX platform is transforming risk reduction

Digital takeover? 

The FSA wants to ensure PALs are communicated more clearly and consistently. One option under consideration is to develop new standards for PALs on prepacked foods including guidance on wording, font, style, and location. It also plans to explore how this information could be made available to consumers, for example, whether it could be placed on a business’s website, published in a booklet, or accessed via a QR code.

Use of a generic PAL without following the Food Standards Agency process, such as using a generic ‘may contain allergens’ label, can mislead consumers.

This can lead to mistrust in the warning and consumers taking risks to increase their food choice, resulting in unexpected adverse allergic reactions. We all remember the tragic incident with Pret, imagine the impact a similar situation could have on your brand!  

We understand how important it is to display allergen information clearly and concisely for our end consumers and that allergens are now one of the biggest risk areas for all food and drink businesses.

Allergen risk management is where the QADEX platform is transforming risk reduction for businesses by reducing the risk of our customers being involved in a food recall by 25%.

Talk to us today to see how we can help you manage your PALs.